Drive-thru voting in Wausau a possibility for November election

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 10:53 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - With early, in-person voting officially underway in Wisconsin for the August Partisan Primary Election, Madison and Eau Claire have implemented a drive-thru option for voters still wishing to cast their ballot in person.

“We feel the system works and that it will keep our voters safe,” said Carrie Reipl, Clerk for the City of Eau Claire.

While Wausau isn’t offering the option for August’s election, City Clerk Leslie Kremer said she is monitoring the situation in Eau Claire and Madison, with plans to contact both clerks to determine what needs to be done to be successful.

“We want to know what worked well; what didn’t work well,” said Kremer. “To see if that could be something that we could implement.”

Those wishing to vote at the polls on election day would still have the option to do so.

In addition to her plans to contact the two cities, Kremer says she has already reached out to the Wisconsin Elections Commission for guidance as to rules that need to be in place to offer drive-thru voting.

For the curbside option, voters are handed a clipboard with your ballot, a pen and a glue stick to close the envelope. Once a ballot is cast, all items used are wiped down and sanitized before the next voter.

“That is different than curbside voting,” explained Kremer. “Curbside voting is something that we currently have in the city of Wausau and that’s always been and still is available for voters.”

Curbside voting will continue to be available for voters regardless of if a drive-thru voting option is implemented or not.

A voter can request the curbside option if they have a medical condition that doesn’t allow them to enter a polling place, or if they don’t feel comfortable doing so.

While the drive-thru voting decision remains to be seen, Kremer explained other precautions that are in place to help voters feel safe when they head to cast their vote.

“For early voting we have someone on staff cleaning between voters all the time. We do encourage masks but we are not able to require masks for voters,” Kremer said. “At the polling locations we have the sneeze guards, the extra people cleaning, hand sanitizer, gloves and masks. All of those kinds of precautions.”

Those wishing to participate in early, in-person voting for the August election are able to do so until Friday, August 7.

The last day that absentee ballots for the August election can be sent out is Thursday, August 6.

Those wishing to drop off absentee ballots are able to do so in the payment drop box located in front of Wausau City Hall. A voter drop off box is expected to be installed by next week.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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