By Alexandria Staubach
The Milwaukee Common Council this morning unanimously approved a new early-voting site that will be located at N. 60th St. and W. Capitol Dr.
The site replaces a popular one in the Midtown Center. In the 2020 and 2022 elections nearly 30% of the absentee ballots cast during early voting from the city of Milwaukee came from the Midtown Center site, accounting for more than 18,200 ballots in 2020 and 8,500 ballots in 2022.
The Midtown Center site was described as “the most popular in the Midwest” by more than one alder, including Mark Chambers Jr., who sponsored the measure and highlighted its importance to Milwaukee’s Black and Brown communities. Chambers said the site would be ADA accessible and on a well-used bus line. He said he looks forward to another robust voting cycle.
A coalition of stakeholders campaigned for the new site after Midtown Center was purchased by an Atlanta-based investor who sought more than double the rent for less square footage. Contract negotiations between the new owner and city devolved earlier this year.
Today at City Hall hopes were high that the new voting site would be just as productive. “We have the opportunity to be more potent” and “we can drive even more people to this location,” said Gregory Lewis, executive director of Souls to Polls and board chairperson for Power to the Polls.
At a press conference following the vote, Angela Lang, executive director of Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC), applauded the Milwaukee Common Council for its unanimous vote and “their work supporting this mission.”
Calena Roberts, Wisconsin state field director for Power to the Polls, exclaimed that “one door has closed, and another has opened wider!”
The coalition advocating for the new site included Souls to the Polls, BLOC, the Wisconsin Working Families Party, SEIU Wisconsin, Leaders Igniting Transformation Wisconsin, Power to the Polls Wisconsin, EXPO Wisconsin, ACLU of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
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