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Appleton, Green Bay, Neenah mayors hoping for alternative voting method ahead of April 7 election

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(WFRV) – The mayors of Appleton, Green Bay, and Neenah are looking to find an alternative voting method ahead of the April 7 election as they say poll workers will be put at risk for contracting coronavirus if there is an in-person election.

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During a teleconference on Friday, Mayors Tim Hanna, Eric Genrich, and Dean Kaufert voiced they are considering asking Governor Tony Evers and the State Legislature to find an alternative method, including pushing the date back a few days to allow clerks to work through the large number of absentee ballots submitted and expected to be submitted.

Mayor Kaufert says Neenah is already seeing long lines at early voting. He explains that this is nice to see, but it also means clerks are being put at risk of being exposed and possibly contracting coronavirus.

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According to Mayor Tim Hanna of Appleton, he’s worried about what the coronavirus situation will look like when it is time for the April 7 voting.

“We’re the only state in the nation having a primary on April 7,” says Hanna. He adds that postponing that date could help ensure poll workers are safe and votes can be counted in time.

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All three mayors are united in this effort, according to Mayor Eric Genrich of Green Bay. The problem can’t be resolved by any of them though, Genrich says, and that they need legislators to step in.

“We aren’t asking for a lengthy extension,” says Genrich, adding that in-person voting on April 7 could “disenfranchise many,” causing him to consider legal action.

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All three mayors are hoping to see some sort of adjustment to the upcoming voting, including mail-in ballots. Because mail is considered at low-risk of spreading coronavirus, health officials say mail-in ballots would be safer than in-person voting.

Genrich says this is really an ask for a short pause for the safety of clerks, not a reason to extend the terms of those in office.

RELATED: Mayor Kaufert explains how Neenah has been handling the Coronavirus pandemic

There is no word yet from Gov. Evers on making alterations to the upcoming voting day.


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