Officials discuss voter disenfranchisement, mail-in voting

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Wisconsin’s spring election highlighted how a pandemic can lead to voter disenfranchisement and that issue is being seen as an obstacle for the General Election in November.

On election day, voters in Milwaukee experienced long lines due to severe consolidation of polling sites from the normal 180 down to just five. On top of that – the absentee ballot option has faced its own challenges with an overwhelming amount of requests, returns and also reports of hundreds of ballots never being delivered to voters.

Democrats in Congress are hoping to include funding for expanded mail-in voting in states in the next COVID-19 relief bill.

But in a briefing Wednesday, President Trump voiced opposition to the idea.

“I think that mail in voting is a terrible thing,” Trump said. Without offering evidence, the president suggested that the system is rife with corruption. “I don't have to tell you can look at the statistics. There's a lot of dishonesty going along with mail in voting.”

During a conference organized by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D – Milwaukee) said she doesn’t want to do away with in-person voting in November, but wants an expansion of the mail-in system to help avoid spread of COVID-19.

“It seems to me if you’re going to contract 180 polling sites down to just five on election day for same day voting,” Moore said. “That would make more sense if people had a longer period of time for absentee voting and if they had had the option to mail it in.”

Moore added that more funding could help alleviate the pressure faced by a system that is not prepared for an all-mail-in election.

“We can see that the system can easily be overwhelmed with those requests and resources would be needed to do that, and so if, in fact, that initiative would pass, then certainly we would need the resources to do it.”

In the short term, funding for that is unlikely as Republicans in Congress oppose the idea.

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