Milwaukee Election Commission Prepping for Expanded Early Voting Hours
While election day is still seven weeks away, early voting starts next week in Milwaukee.
City officials plan a huge increase in the number of hours available to early voters. The question is, will they be ready?
They almost weren't.
In just a week, the election commission decided to make the change from about 100 hours of early voting to over 700 hours.
In past years, in-person absentee voting was only 2 weeks, and one location; that totaled 110 hours. A federal mandate restricted the number of hours and locations in person absentee voting could take place. That was recently lifted.
To increase voter access, the common council wanted more locations and hours. The council proposed over 900 hours of early voting, and voting locations at MATC, UW-Milwaukee, and Marquette.
The election commission worried the common council's proposal would stretch them too thin.
"My concern was risk -- that if we spread resources too thin, you increase the risk that something can go wrong. For example, if we spread the expertise of staff or our ability to triage and address problems, then something could go wrong," said Neil Albrecht, Executive Director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission.
During a common council meeting Tuesday, the proposal was struck down. The council decided early voting would stick to 725 hours, with three locations in the city.
"I had a concern with that expansion, that we not overextend the city's resources in terms of administering election, and that we not take any action that could compromise the integrity of the election," said Albrecht.
The election commission says they're still preparing for the additional voting hours, but will be ready when it starts Monday.