By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Earlier this week, early voting began in Milwaukee and with the election just over a week away, elected officials are pushing for Milwaukee to get out and vote. Milwaukeeans have the option of voting absentee by mail, going to one of the 14 early voting locations or voting in-person on Election Day.
State Rep. Kalan Haywood II and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley dropped off their absentee ballots at the Villard Square Library, 5190 N. 35th St., on Friday, Oct. 23.
The City of Milwaukee Election Commission has established absentee ballot drop boxes throughout the city which will remain open till 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The drop boxes are an alternative option for voters who don’t want to send their ballot through the mail.
“This election is super important,” Haywood said, adding that it’s not just about the names on the ballot but its about what those candidates are fighting for and what they are against.
Haywood stressed that the coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone including his family. For the past six weeks, his grandmother has been in the hospital fighting COVID-19 and recently entered a coma before she was able to fill out her absentee ballot.
“I’m sad she didn’t get a chance to vote but know she’d want me to vote,” he said. “Go vote. We can’t afford for any vote not to be counted or for any vote to not be casted.”
Crowley added that this election is significant because of the second public health pandemic occurring – racism. Crowley specifically encouraged Black men to go out and cast their ballot.
He further stressed the importance of voting for Democrats up and down the ballot.
“Let’s buckle up and let’s recommit ourselves,” Crowley said. “We know this is a crucial election.”
He added that it’s important to vote and then make sure that loved ones are voting. Health care, education, criminal justice reform and more are on the ballot, he said. These are issues that pertain directly to Milwaukee.
Joining the two elected officials at the press conference was Joshua Moore, 25, and Terrence Moore, 21. The two were planning to cast their vote at the early polling location currently in place at Villard Square Library.
There was a time when Black people couldn’t vote, and even though they can now, they’re still being oppressed, Joshua said. He’s voting because it’s important and because every vote matters.
Joshua said seeing the recent impact of elected officials on current events has made him realize how important his vote is.
Terrence who voted for the first-time echoed Joshua on why he’s exercising his right to vote.
“I’m voting because it does matter,” Terrence said. “It’s important to make sure my voice is heard.”
The election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 3. Milwaukee residents have the option of voting absentee by mail, voting early in-person or voting on Election Day. For additional information on voting go to myote.wi.gov or iwillvote.com/wi. A photo ID is required to vote.