‘1st time I’ve been out of the house:’ Voters cast ballots in drive-through in Richfield amid COVID-19

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RICHFIELD -- Voting advocacy groups and the mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin's largest city, on Tuesday, March 24 urged Gov. Tony Evers to close polling sites and conduct the state's spring election entirely by mail to protect voters and a dwindling pool of election workers from the coronavirus. Evers has refused calls to postpone the April 7 election in the face of the crisis. Meanwhile, election officials in Pleasant Prairie and Richfield detoured their normal plans -- opting for drive-through early voting.

"It's an experience, I guess," said Harry, a Richfield voter. "I never did anything like this."

Early voters in Richfield Tuesday took advantage of drive-through service and a little fresh air, with President Donald Trump and Governor Evers urging people to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"This is the first time I've been out of the house in over a week, so this is a big thing to be out here and doing this," said Wendy Huddleston, Richfield voter.

Drive-through voting in Richfield

Jim Healy

Jim Healy

Village leaders improvised amid crisis, to help voters exercise their constitutional right.

"It's my job to vote -- my duty," said Sandy Stuettgan, a Richfield voter.

"Oddly enough, we based it on the drive-through process over at Portillo's, where you have staff that are working out of the front of the line to take everybody's order," said Jim Healy, Richfield village administrator.

Tom Barrett

Tom Barrett

In Oak Creek and Milwaukee, in-person early voting sites were closed. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday sent a letter to Governor Evers and other state leaders, calling for the April election to be conducted by mail.

"I would not advise someone I love to go sit in a polling place for 10, 12 hours and come into contact with dozens, if not hundreds of people, and I apply that same test to the residents of the City of Milwaukee," said Barrett.

There are 289,000 registered voters in Milwaukee County, and roughly 8,000 in Richfield, of which, about 70% voted in 2016. This time around, the poll workers have become poll cleaners.

Drive-through voting in Richfield

Drive-through early voting was scheduled to resume Wednesday, March 25 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Below is information on drive-through voting in Pleasant Prairie:

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