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One Wisconsin Institute Urging Green Bay City Clerk To Expand Early Voting Hours, Polling Places

Clerk: Office Doesn't Have Staff, Budget To Add Hours, Locations

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Early ballots box
Ryan Van Velzer/AP Photo

One Wisconsin Institute is asking the Green Bay City Clerk to extend early voting hours and the number of polling places offering in-person absentee voting ahead of the Nov. 8 election day.

Long lines at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay left many people waiting in line for hours to vote in the April primary, and people don’t want a repeat.

But Green Bay City Clerk Kris Teske said she doesn’t have the staff or budget to expand hours and locations.

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A federal court ruling in August upheld an earlier decision to allow Wisconsin election officials to offer longer early voting hours. Madison and Milwaukee city clerks have said they will do so, but Green Bay has not.

Analiese Eicher, program director at One Wisconsin Institute, a nonprofit focusing on voting rights, said the goal is to have expanded voting hours beyond 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including weekends and evenings, and an increase in polling places for early voting.

“Green Bay made the national news during the April election where it was just the presidential primary for significant lines,” Eicher said. “We know that long lines often discourage voters who can’t wait in line who might not be able to come back.”

Teske said many students waited to register at the polls, and that’s partly why the lines were so long.

She is working to get more students registered ahead of the November election by reaching out to the campus with options for early registration and absentee ballots, but she has gotten little response, Teske said.

“I can give them the tools, but I can’t make them use them,” Teske said. “So this time we, again, are trying to have a drive where they can register ahead of time. But I was told by a (state) representative that students don’t do anything early.”

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