By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Oct 20, 2020 at 3:29 PM Photography: Andy Tarnoff

After months of annoying campaign advertisements, several awful debates, one viral fly and approximately 27 breaking news stories a day about voting changes, political slap-fighting or places that were going to be used for early voting but aren't anymore, now it's time for your voice to ring out above the noise. 

Early in-person voting begins today throughout the battleground state of Wisconsin, and with the changing rules and locations – not to mention the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic adding an extra challenge for many hoping to use their voice in our democracy – it can feel confusing and scary figuring out where or when to vote, and how to do it right. Here's a brief guide to voting in this election – whether you're voting early in-person, dropping off an absentee or early ballot, or waiting until Election Day on Nov. 3 to place your vote the traditional way.

And for more information and details, visit My Vote Wisconsin's website, which can provide personalized information and other resources. 

Early in-person voting

For those wanting to avoid the rush, uncertainty and, considering the pandemic, potential crowds of Election Day, early in-person voting began today throughout Wisconsin, running until Nov. 1. Unfortunately, plans to utilize Miller Park and Fiserv Forum as early voting sites were scrapped by the Election Commission, but thankfully there are still 14 other early voting locations spread throughout the city of Milwaukee, though the hours vary between most of them. Here are the polling spots, organized by when they're open:

Mondays and Tuesdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays-Fridays from 1-7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Bay View Library – 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • Cannon Park Pavilion – 303 N. 95th St.
  • Clinton Rose Senior Center – 3045 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. 
  • East Library – 2320 N. Cramer St. 
  • Good Hope Library – 7717 W. Good Hope Rd. 
  • Mitchell Street Library – 906 W. Historic Mitchell St. 
  • Tippecanoe Library – 3912 S. Howell Ave.
  • Villard Square Library – 5190 N. 35th St.
  • Washington Park Library – 2121 N. Sherman Blvd. 

Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building – 841 N. Broadway, Room 102
  • Midtown Center – N. 58th Street and West Capitol Drive
  • Zablocki Library – 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave. 

Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union – 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.

Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (beginning Oct. 21)

  • MATC T Building – 1101 N. 6th St.

For those unable to vote at these sites during their open hours, there are two locations – Independence First at 540 S. 1st St. and Manitoba School at 4040 W. Forest Home Ave. – that offer voting by appointment request only. To request an appointment, email the Election Commission at kdzapat@milwaukee.gov.

Remember: You must still bring a photo ID and all voters must register before voting. Registration for voting by mail or online has passed, but you can still register at all the above sites (save on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1) or in person at the municipal clerk's office until 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. For more information on what you'll need to register, visit the Election Commission website or My Vote Wisconsin.

And most importantly, wear a mask and stay social distanced; there's still a pandemic going on.

Mail-in/drop box voting

If you've received an absentee ballot, with the uncertainty surrounding the mail earlier this election season, you'll probably want to get that in (fully complete with a witness signature and everything; be sure to follow the instructions) as soon as possible – and as securely as possible. To help with that, the Election Commission has set up several secure absentee ballot drop boxes throughout the city.

  • Atkinson Library – 1960 W. Atkinson Ave.
  • Bay View Library – 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • Capitol Library – 3969 N. 74th St.
  • Center Street Library – 2727 W. Fond du Lac Ave.
  • Central Library Centennial Hall – 733 N. 8th St.
  • City Hall Complex – 200 E. Wells St. (on the east side of Market Street, between City Hall and Zeidler)
  • East Library – 2320 N. Cramer St.
  • Election Commission Warehouse – 1901 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • Good Hope Library – 7715 W. Good Hope Rd.
  • Martin Luther King Library – 310 W. Locust St.
  • Mitchell Street Library – 906 W. Historic Mitchell St.
  • Tippecanoe Library – 3912 S. Howell Ave.
  • Villard Square Library – 5190 N. 35th St.
  • Washington Park Library – 2121 N. Sherman Blvd.
  • Zablocki Library – 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave.

The drop boxes are open 24/7, except for Election Day when they will close at 8 p.m. – the deadline for returning your absentee ballot. 

As for requesting an absentee ballot, you may still do so until 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29 via mail, email or My Vote Wisconsin. However, the closer we get to Election Day, with the uncertainty of when you'll receive your ballot, it might be wise just to mask up and vote in person instead. 

Election Day

As for those who want to place their votes the classic way – on Election day, in person at your local polling location – there should be plenty of voting locations as compared to last spring's primary election debacle. To find your particular voting spot, use My Vote Wisconsin's location finder or the Election Commission's website. All you have to do is put in your address and it'll find your poll. Remember: Keep six feet of distance at minimum between yourself and others, bring your own pen, wash your hands well before and after going out and wear a mask.

All polling locations will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. – but if you are in line before 8 p.m., stay in line. Regular voter registration rules apply, which means same-day registration will be available. For details on the ID and documents needed, click here and click here.

Stay healthy, stay safe and enjoy some sweet, sweet democracy, Milwaukee. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.