Mayors urge patience as cities count tens of thousands of ballots Tuesday

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Over half of the registered voters in Wisconsin's five largest cities have already cast a ballot. Mayors in those cities said that's great, it means fewer people will have to wait at polls to cast their vote. Counting all those ballots will take longer than normal.

New Berlin's utility office is one of four central counting facilities in Waukesha County. Elections workers in each central counting facility will process tens of thousands of absentee ballots. The mayors said voters will need to be patient as they wait for results.

"The most important thing is for every vote to be counted, and it is more important to be accurate than fast," said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Mayors in Wisconsin's five largest cities urged voters to be patient getting results on election night.

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"I can guarantee they will not be counted before midnight, our elections director has optimistically estimated between three and four a.m.," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

"It's really important that we take the time to safely and securely count them," said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich.

He said the results will not be ready right after the polls close at 8 p.m.

"Either very late Tuesday night, or early morning of the fourth," said Genrich.

Barrett said the cities will report results for ballots cast on Election Day first, and then the results will change when they're finished counting absentees.

"Our understanding per state statute or state guidance, we can't dribble out those numbers of absentee ballots, that you'll get one number when those are completed," said Barrett.

Each city closes its drop boxes Election Day at different times. Voters who still need to return an absentee ballot should check with their local elections office to find out where to drop the ballot off to be counted.

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