Milwaukee leaders frustrated with election; proud of poll worker efforts

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – It was a very strange day for an election. Milwaukee leaders said it shouldn’t have been held in person, but felt poll workers did the best they could to keep voters safe.

Voters spent hours waiting in line, six feet apart, wearing masks, in order to cast a ballot. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said it shouldn’t have been like this.

“It’s almost embarrassing, where we’ve been saying stay at home, stay at home, stay at home for weeks now, where in essence now we’re saying except for this,” said Barrett.

“I’m very concerned, it’s a group gathering during a time when we’re being advised by all levels of government to avoid group gathering,” said Milwaukee Election Commission Director Neil Albrecht.

He said voters waited in line for hours at the Riverside High School polling place. The state deployed 170 National Guard soldiers to help, but Albrecht said it was too late to open more.

“I did not want to stretch resources too thin by opening a lot of centers,” said Albrecht.

Poll workers had to control a pandemic and run an election. Still, Albrecht said he’s proud of the effort put on by the Guard, the poll workers, and the public. He even voted in person himself.

“I am 100 percent confident that you are safer than if you go into a grocery store,” said Albrecht.
Election results won’t be released until next week. It could be two weeks before we know whether the election causes a spike in new coronavirus cases.

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