By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Last week, the mayors of Green Bay, Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Madison announced that they had challenged each other to a friendly competition. The goal was to get the highest percentage of early voters to the polls before early voting closed on Sunday, Nov. 1.
The mayors gathered on Monday, Nov. 2 and announced Madison as the winner with 62.8% of its registered voters having cast a ballot during early voting.
“The real winners here are the voters,” Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison said.
All of the mayors have worked hard to expand early voting opportunities, she said.
Green Bay (54.3%) took second, followed by Kenosha (54%), Racine (51.6%) and Milwaukee (50.9%). Each city had just over 50% of its registered voters turn out to vote early.
“It’s a great thing for democracy and for public health as well,” Mayor Eric Genrich of Green Bay said.
Cory Mason, the mayor of Racine, added that given the early voting turnout, he is confident in the five city’s ability to maintain social distancing at the polls during Election Day.
Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee said he was pleased with the turnout and noted that there are still a lot of people who need to return their absentee ballot or vote in person. He said that the city is waiting for about 20,000 absentee ballots to be returned and expects to receive an additional 12,000 to 13,000 ballots on Election Day.
If someone has not returned their absentee ballot, they are asked to return it one of the absentee ballot drop-off locations located throughout the city. The last pickup is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The ballots are being taken to the Central Count location, 501 W. Michigan Ave., where they will be processed starting at 7 a.m. on Election Day.
Barrett said there will be three shifts at the Central Count location and estimates that counting will continue past midnight. The absentee ballot totals won’t be released until each one has been counted.
As Rhodes-Conway noted, it is more important for the count to be accurate than it is to be fast.
Barrett reminded Milwaukeeans who haven’t yet cast a ballot, to get out and vote. The City of Milwaukee has 173 polling locations. To find your polling place, click here or Google “polling places” and enter your address.
“Please don’t forget an acceptable photo ID and do not forget to bring a mask,” he said, adding that in-person voters should use hand sanitizer and maintain safe distances.
In addition to announcing the winner of the mayoral challenge, the mayors declared today, Monday, Nov. 2, as Election Heroes Day. Each of the mayors praised their Election Commission and poll workers.
“It’s important to understand how many people stepped up to make this happen,” Mayor John Antaramian of Kenosha said.
The mayors also assured the public that voter intimidation will not be tolerated.
“This is a day for democracy,” Barrett said.
Election Day is scheduled for 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. To view a sample ballot or find your polling place visit myvote.wi.gov. Bring a photo ID and wear a mask. If you still need to register bring a photo ID and proof of residence.