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‘Putting lives at stake:’ Voters who didn’t receive absentee ballots forced to polls amid pandemic

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MILWAUKEE -- Thousands of Wisconsin voters waiting for their absentee ballots to come in the mail were left with an uncomfortable choice on Election Day, Tuesday, April 7. More than one million requested absentee ballots, and more than 100 reached out to FOX6 News to say they had not received their ballot.

One of them, a man named Casey Hintz, said he got an absentee ballot in the mail, or at least, an envelope, but when he opened it up, there was nothing inside except an instruction sheet.

"I just really, really think it's a mess," said Hintz. "I'm not going to risk my health or my family's health."

He reached out to the clerk, who told him he had no choice but to vote in person on Tuesday -- something Hintz said he simply wasn't going to do.

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Casey Hintz

Casey Hintz

"I really feel they're putting the lives of many people at stake," said Hintz. "You're literally, a lot of people say, your life depends on this election, and in this case, it almost literally does. Either you vote, and your voice is heard, and you have a risk of dying or getting this terrible virus, or your voice isn't heard."

Officials with the Wisconsin Elections Commission noted a record number of absentee ballots requested and submitted for this election, however, officials said they were aware of a number of people who did not receive theirs.

"The ballots still haven't arrived," said Sara Puls. "I just feel like it's mass confusion."

Puls said she could've done drive-thru voting instead, but was too busy assembling ventilators.

Sara Puls

Sara Puls

"This was the right thing to do," said Puls. "That to me, right now, more important than anything."

Katie George has a roommate who works at a hospital.

"I don't want to put anyone at risk," said George. "I don't want to get COVID myself."

Shannon

Shannon

A voter named Shannon said she wasn't sure whether she'd vote in person.

"I'm going to feel guilty if I go, and I expose people, and I expose myself, and I'm going to feel guilty if I don't go," she said.

A voter named Chris decided men and women fought for his freedom to vote, and a virus wouldn't stop him.

"And I put on my mask, I put on my gloves, and I didn't have to go to war," said Chris. "I did my civic duty."

Again, the only option for those people was to vote at the polls before 8 p.m. Tuesday. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday absentee ballots must be postmarked by April 7 to count. We won't see election results until April 13, and it remains to be seen whether any of these absentee ballot issued would lead to legal challenges.

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