Election Day is merely weeks away and interest in casting votes sooner rather than later is skyrocketing across the nation. By the end of September, voters in some states including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Michigan had already requested more ballots than pre-Election Day votes were cast in all of 2016. Locally, Baldwin absentee voting requests have also been on the rise.
As of October 13, absentee applications filed and ballots sent for Baldwin were 727. Of these, 358 have been returned. Village Clerk Tracy Carlson said, “Voters have until 8:00pm on Election Day to return the ballot; however, we are encouraging voters to return their ballot early to ensure that it’s received before the deadline. Ballots can be returned by mail (a self-addressed stamped envelope is provided and it must be RECEIVED by election day). They can also be dropped off in person or deposited in the drop box outside the main entrance to the municipal building.”
Carlson said during the 2016 Presidential Election, the village issued a total of 478 ballots, including the mailed ballots and including two weeks of in-person absentee voting, which this year has not started yet.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a large reason for the increase in absentee voting and has created issues of a lack of poll workers in some communities, but that is not the case in Baldwin. The village has enough poll workers and intends to take precautions to keep voters safe.
Carlson said, “Voters will be kept safe as we encourage 6’ social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available before entering the polling place and at the exit. Each voter will get their own pen to use to mark the ballots. Sneeze guards will be used between the voter and the poll workers. Voting booths will be wiped down regularly. Masks CANNOT and WILL NOT be required to be worn for a voter to vote; however we do encourage voters to wear one if they are able.”