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Absentee ballot troubles build days before April primary, leaders discourage in-person voting

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MILWAUKEE COUNTY (CBS 58) -- With just six days until election night, there are troubles with absentee ballots.

Hales Corners is one of many local municipalities getting online requests for from voters.

“Typically in Hales Corners we would have around three, maybe 400 absentee ballots. I’m currently at almost 2,000," Hales Corners Municipal Clerk Sandy Kulik said.

With so many new voters choosing absentee, clerk Sandy Kulik says her office has had to call people who’ve made mistakes.

“If they haven’t been able to reach them I’ve had to mail them a letter, which may or may not get to them in time," she added.

She's also reminding voters who request online ballots to make sure to upload a picture of state-approved photo ID, and not a selfie.

Election staff in River Hills also say they’re overwhelmed because properly mailed ballots are being returned.

They’ve gotten more than 100 back and tell CBS 58 that USPS is working on a solution.

“The safest way for you to vote is to vote absentee," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

In Milwaukee, if you’ve gotten and completed your ballot, officials want you to drop it off yourself at one of five locations. For safety, they do not encourage in-person voting.

“Those drop boxes are open from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.. That will include election day and there are staff at each of those drop off to be able to provide a witness signature,' said City of Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht said.

“And I hope people do not go to the polls on Tuesday. Even as much as I want them to vote, I do not want them to put their lives in jeopardy," Barrett said. 

Regular Wisconsin voters have until Thursday to request an absentee ballot online or by mail.

All have until Friday to register at your clerk’s office, or you can do so in-person on election day, April 7.

But make sure you follow the rules, at least 20 ballots have already been rejected in Hales Corners.

“So the biggest thing is for people to make sure they fill out section 4 and get it properly witnessed with a name and an address," Kulik explained.

For more information on Wisconsin elections, click here.

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