GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – There are renewed calls Wednesday night for the city of Green Bay to reconsider its rejection of an early voting site on the UW-Green Bay campus.
This comes after long lines at the polls during the April primary caused headaches for those trying to vote at the university. Some had to wait in line for several hours to vote in that primary.
State Representative Eric Genrich emailed city clerk Kris Teske asking her about setting up an early voting site for November on the UWGB campus to alleviate the issue.
In emails first reported by “The Nation” magazine, Teske responded saying she was concerned about cost, security, and not having enough staff or time for all the paperwork that comes with setting up an early voting site.
She also expressed concerns to the Wisconsin Elections Commission over a statute that says “No site may be designated that affords an advantage to any political party.” She supported that argument by saying in an email, “I’ve heard it said students lean more toward the democrats.”
That part of Teske’s response has angered certain organizations who are now speaking out about the controversy.
One Wisconsin Institute, a non-partisan organization that fights for voter rights, is calling for the city of Green Bay to reconsider an early voting site on UW-Green Bay’s Campus.
The institute said it’s not too late for the city to fix the situation, but if the city doesn’t change their mind, then the institute is at least requesting for an expansion on early voting hours to include evenings and weekends to make it easier for students to vote.
One Wisconsin is also asking for more poll workers and poll books to be available at the UWBG polling location on Election Day.
Last month, UWGB students of all different political parties joined forces to send a letter to the city to ask for an early voting site on campus. The city denied that request, but said it will extend a contract so students can use public transportation to vote early at the clerk’s office.
The student who spearheaded the letter that was denied said he is willing to sit down with the city to come up with a solution, but he would like something from them.
“First of all give us an apology and kind of show they are dedicated to students needs and to making sure that we have our rights,” said Nikolas Austin, president of UWGB’s Student Government Association.
At a press conference on Wednesday, the mayor of Madison chimed in on the early voting controversy by saying he is appalled at what happened in Green Bay.
“The notion that a local official, be it a city clerk or an elected official, would do anything to thwart voter turnout is just repugnant,” said Mayor Soglin.