Battleground county in a battleground state: Kenosha voters line up for early voting

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KENOSHA, Wis. — Voters across Wisconsin lined up Tuesday to cast their ballots on the first day of early in-person voting in the presidential battleground state.

Wisconsin voters turned out in big numbers for Donald Trump in 2016, helping to put the Republican in the White House. 

Trump pulled in 46.85% of the vote in the Badger State, while his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton lost by a razor thin margin with 45.52% of the vote. It was the first time in 32 years that Wisconsin voters sent Republican to the White House.

President Trump returned to the area in September to survey the damage following civil unrest in the wake of the controversial police shooting of Kenosha’s Jacob Blake.

Former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden followed soon after with his own Kenosha visit, showing how critically important Wisconsin is in securing the presidency.  

Though many polls have shown Biden leading with the 2020 election fast approaching, many political experts predict another close battle in Wisconsin.

Locations and times to vote Tuesday varied across the state, but lines were reported shortly after polls opened in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and Sheboygan. 

In an effort to help people feel safe amid a pandemic, the City of Kenosha is even offering drive-thru voting at the Municipal Building.  

“They’ll be greeted by a greeter and then move onto the staging area where they have to show a photo ID. They can pull off to the side to take their time and then drop off their completed ballot on the way out,” explained Michelle Nelson, City of Kenon with the Kenosha City Clerk’s Office.

More than 915,000 voters had returned absentee ballots as of Tuesday, about 30% of the total votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.

According to local election officials, turnout is already strong for early in-person voting as well. Nelson said the early turnout is more than she’s ever seen before in her eight years of working elections.

“We’ve already had more voting today then in the first three days combined in the 2016 election,” Nelson said.

Kenosha County is a battleground county in a battleground state. Voters there are expected to play a pivotal role in the election, particularly when it comes to the presidential race. 

The window to vote early and in-person will remain open for 11 days, until Nov. 1, and none of the ballots can be counted until after polls open at 7 a.m. on Election Day, which is Nov. 3.

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