Early voters say drive-up staffed ballot box could deter residents from voting

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With over a week left before the mayoral elections, early voters got their head start on Saturday, March 26. This year though, absentee ballot drop boxes will be overlooked by stack. Voters and some election volunteers said this could deter new voters from participating.

This past Saturday was the first of two Saturdays, the next on April 2, where the city will be welcoming early voters to drop off their absentee ballots in one of the nine early voting locations to use a convenient drive-up option to drop off their ballot without having to leave their car. That will be open next Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm.

Some voters say the limited locations of these staffed drop boxes make it difficult for voters and potential new voters to cast their ballot.

"The drop boxes how they had them before, it was just a hop skip and jump just right down the street at one of the libraries, so this is a little bit more out of the way. But regardless, we got to be out here and vote," said Andrea Warren, a voter.

This new measure came after the State Supreme Court banned unmanned drop boxes. Trained election officials were on site to make sure ballot envelopes were filled out correctly.

"We're just maintaining the security of the box and making it easy for people to be able to vote early," said Sharon Mahos, an election volunteer.

She said she's been helping with elections for years, and said although manning drop-off boxes with the drive-up option could make it convenient for voters, but could drive potential voters away.

"To me it's counterproductive. You know if you have the boxes people can vote. Then it's going to encourage voting, it's going to encourage people who maybe are not able again to vote on election day," said Mahos.

Residents can still return ballots by mail but officials urge voters to do so as early as possible.

The nine absentee ballot drop-off locations are below:

Early Voting Locations in Milwaukee:

Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building (841 North Broadway, Room 102)

Midtown Center (5700 West Capitol Drive)

Zablocki Library (3501 West Oklahoma Avenue)

Bay View Library (2566 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue)

East Library (2320 N. Cramer Street)

Good Hope Library (7717 W. Good Hope Road)

Tippecanoe Library (3912 S. Howell Avenue)

Villard Square Library (5190 N. 35th St.)

Washington Park Library (2121 N. Sherman Boulevard)

Weekdays 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Saturdays 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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