GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) While election day may be over, absentee ballots are still being counted for this election that had some waiting hours just to participate. Here’s more on this confusing and controversial spring election.
At Allouez Village Hall absentee ballots are being processed for the first-ever election in the age of the coronavirus. An election that left many in Green Bay and Milwaukee waiting in line for hours to vote.
“This is kind of ridiculous, because this is the first time I’ve seen something this long. I’m usually in and out,” said one voter outside Green Bay West High School.
“This is no way to conduct an election, this should not happen in November, should we be under similar circumstances,” said political expert Michael Kraft.
Last Friday Governor Evers through executive order, tried to eliminate in-person voting because of the coronavirus, while giving voters extra time to return absentee ballots. The state GOP went to the courts, which struck down Evers order and election day was back on.
“Having the back and forth, should the election occur, should it not occur, that all created confusion and that’s not an ideal situation,” said Reid Magney from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
Magney says because of Covid-19 and a lack of poll workers some municipalities operated only a handful of voting sites, which caused long delays. And he thinks the sheer volume of absentee ballot requests may have overwhelmed some municipal clerks.
“That essentially put a huge burden on municipal clerks to get those requests, process them, send them out and now they have to deal with all the envelopes coming back in,” Mageny said.
Those absentee ballots are required to have been postmarked by the 7th and returned to municipal clerks by 4 p.m. April 13th to be counted.
“There is still another 22,000 that are outstanding, we don’t know if those will come back in or not countywide,” said Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno.
Juno says after 4 p.m. next Monday unofficial results will be released.
“They will bring memory sticks with data to the County Clerk’s Office which we will upload into our program and posted on our website,” Juno said.
But Michael Kraft says it’s possible all the confusion surrounding this past election could lead to a lawsuit.
“I could see some kind of citizen class action lawsuit against the state of Wisconsin, to say I was denied my right to vote,” Kraft said.
Green Bay operated just two polling locations and Milwaukee, five.