No free election day bus rides; Milwaukee County Board votes

Milwaukee County leaders are pumping the brakes on the possibility of free bus rides on election day. The resolution to take people to polling places failed. 

"I really find it difficult to see why anyone would be opposing this resolution," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Steven Shea.

"This is pure bribery, it’s illegal and like I said perception is reality and this is a body that is just doing political stunts to help, you know, a couple candidates on the ballot," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Steve Taylor.

"It is egregious to assume that people are bartering or bribing for votes," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Felesia Martin.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors' discussion on whether to offer voters a free bus ride to their polling place on election day lasted nearly 30 minutes. 

"I think it’s also important to note that in Milwaukee County… um… people live within a half mile of their polling location," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Liz Sumner.

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"We don’t know peoples physical capacity to walk or have personal transportation or to even bike," Martin said.

Spending $63,000 of Milwaukee County taxpayer money on the free rides also came up.

"I am concerned about the fiscal hit that this will take for the one day for the few people that actually would be using it for the purpose of the polls," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Kathleen Vincent.

"County has frequently given free rides on St. Patrick’s Day. Now, if we can give free rides to go to a bar, and I say this as someone of Irish descent who may very well be seen at in an Irish bar on St. Patrick’s Day, we can certainly give them a ride to the polls," Shea said.

Toward the end of the discussion, the county's legal counsel reminded the board about election law.

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"It is illegal to offer, give or lend or promise to give or lend anything of value to any elector in order to induce any elector to go to or refrain from going to the polls," said Margaret Daun, Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel.

Racine County and the City of Green Bay offered free rides on election day. Milwaukee County's vote for free rides on election day failed because it needed two-thirds to pass.