Ahead of election day, clerks prepare polling places, absentee ballots for counting

MILWAUKEE -- Election day is Tuesday, November 8th, and clerks on Monday, November 7th spent the day making final preparations at polling sites across the area.

There are more than 280 polling locations in Milwaukee County alone -- and turnout is expected to be high.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission predicts that 3.1 million people will cast ballots on Tuesday -- 69.6 percent of Wisconsin’s 2016 voting-age population of 4,449,170, according to Census estimates.

Wisconsin election officials said Monday, November 7th nearly 800,000 people voted early, setting a new record.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission announced that as of Monday morning, 797,740 people had returned absentee ballots to municipal clerks. That breaks the old record of 664,597 ballots returned in 2012.

Clerks have issued a total of 828,248 absentee ballots, including 650,782 ballots cast in-person in clerks' offices.

Early in-person voting ended in most municipalities Friday, November 4th and in a few cities on Saturday, November 5th and Sunday, November 6th. Mail-in absentee ballots must be returned to clerks' offices or polling places by Tuesday, November 8th to count.

In Oak Creek Monday, election inspectors from the six districts were busy assembling voting booths, tables and signs at polling places -- preparing for a large turnout.

Meanwhile, poll workers at City Hall assigned numbers to the 6,600 absentee ballots already returned, preparing them for Tuesday when they'll be opened and put into the ballot machine.

"Because we`ve already voted over 30 percent -- 31 percent -- here in Oak Creek, we should be able to get the voters through pretty quickly. It`s the registration lines that tend to get long and kind of slow down the process -- so the more prepared voters are with that information, the smoother and quicker that will go. I anticipate high voter turnout, so I encourage everyone to head to the polls as early as possible," Catherine Roeske, clerk for the City of Oak Creek said.

Catherine Roeske, clerk for the City of Oak Creek

At the county level, Milwaukee County Director of Elections Julietta Henry was on hand Monday to provide extra supplies to municipalities and answer questions from the public.

"It`s been extremely busy," Henry said.

Once your ballot is in on Tuesday, Henry's staff is then responsible for tallying the results.

"We`ve tested the equipment. We ran the actual test ballots through every single machine, and they`ve sent in their results," Henry said.

A reminder: You must bring a photo ID to the polls in order to receive a ballot. If you're registering to vote on Tuesday, you must bring proof of residence.

The polls open at 7:00 a.m. and as long as you're in line by 8:00 p.m. you will be allowed to vote.

To avoid long lines, Roeske advises you vote in the late morning, or early afternoon.

Below are tips for voters from the City of Milwaukee Election Commission:

  • Polling locations in the City of Milwaukee are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.  If you have not voted for a few election cycles, you may confirm your polling location at milwaukee.gov/election.

  • All Wisconsin voters must show an acceptable photo ID before voting. The address on your photo ID does NOT have to be your current address and the name on your ID does NOT need to be an exact match to your name in the poll book (For example, “Rob versus “Robert,” or “Sue” instead of “Susan”).

  • You will need to show one of the following forms of identification: A Wisconsin Driver’s License, A Wisconsin Identification Card, a Veteran’s Affairs (VA) ID card, a Military ID card issues by a U.S. uniformed services, a U.S. Passport or an identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin (can be used even if expired, regardless of expiration date). Please note that there is no such thing as a "Voter ID Card."

  • If you do not yet have a photo ID, you can still vote a provisional ballot at your polling location and then go to the DMV to get to get an ID receipt.  You may then present that receipt at the Election Commission up until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 11 and your ballot will be counted.

  • You may register and vote at your voting site on any Election Day. Any person registering to vote and voting on Election Day must have lived at their current address for at least 10 days before the election with no present intent to move.  If the address on your photo ID is not current, you will need to provide a second document as an acceptable proof of residence.

  • Visit the following website to determine your voting site by entering your voter registration address: milwaukee.gov/vote.