The northern part of the city, which is predominantly black, has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus. Yet hundreds of voters had already queued by early morning.
The lines weren’t limited to Milwaukee. In Waukesha, a suburb just outside of Milwaukee, only one polling location was open for a city of 70,000. A similarly long line wrapped around a parking lot, as cones denoting a safe distance between voters helped break up the line.
A woman sick with coronavirus is unable to vote.
Hannah Gleeson is a health care worker who lives in Milwaukee, is 17 weeks pregnant and recently tested positive for the coronavirus. She says she has voted in every election she has been eligible for — “I enjoy going in person. I like getting my sticker,” she said — but since contracting the virus she realized that going to a polling place would not be an option.
“I feel like especially right now, when there are so many things that can make you feel hopeless, voting is one of the only things that is still within your power,” Ms. Gleeson, 34, said.
So she requested an absentee ballot a week ago, well within the deadlines set by the state. But she never received one. When she saw that the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down an extension of the deadlines, she called the state elections commission.
“They kind of said, yeah, that really sucks, hopefully you’ll have better luck with the next election,” Ms. Gleeson said. She said that some friends in Milwaukee had also not received ballots: one who made a request on March 26, and another on March 9.
Now, Ms. Gleeson and her husband, who is not showing symptoms but is also isolating himself since Ms. Gleeson is sick, are not able to vote, or at least not able to do so without putting hundreds of people at risk. “I’ve always said that every vote matters, every vote counts, and it’s your one chance to have your voice heard,” she said. “And it’s now something that I really feel has been taken away from me, and my husband as well.”