City officials in Verona are encouraging residents to vote absentee in the wake of the coronavirus threat, ideally by mail.

City administrator Adam Sayre and city clerk Ellen Clark both told the Press on Friday, March 13, that they were encouraging everyone to do so, and Clark said she had already seen many requests for absentee ballots coming in.

Clark told the Press in an email on Sunday, March 15, the city was canceling early voting opportunities previously available at the Verona Senior Center on Tuesday, March 18, and the Verona Public Library on Saturday, March 21. Those facilities will now be closed on those dates.

Verona City Center will be open during the following hours for voters who must vote early in person according to the city’s website.

Monday-Friday, March 17 - March 27 - 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 28, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Monday - Friday, March 30 - April 3 - 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Clark said the clerk’s office will be taking extra precautions to provide clean counters and pens and bottles of hand sanitizer, but city staff were strongly encouraging voters to request their ballots by mail.

Requests for absentee ballots by mail can be made at myvote.wi.gov. Applications must be received by the clerk’s office no later than 5 p.m. on the Thursday before Election Day, according to the Wisconsin Election Commission’s website.

For the April 7 elections, that is Thursday, April 2.

Dane County clerk Scott McDonnell also urged voters to request a ballot as soon as possible. In a press release on March 16, McDonnell said that if voters’ names or addresses have changed since the last election, they need to register with their current informationRegistration status can be checked at myvote.wi.gov, under “My Voter Info.”

If voters need to register to vote, they can do so online by Wednesday at midnight at myvote.wi.gov. After that time they must register in person.

"Voters are strongly encouraged to do this online now if needed," McDonnell stated in the release.

Clark told the Press voters residing in residential care facilities including Noel Manor, Four Winds and Willow Pointe, that have previously been served in person at their facilities by special voting deputies, will receive their April 7 ballots by mail. Instructions will be included with each ballot.

“I believe this is the best way to allow these folks to vote,” Clark said.

The coronavirus family is responsible for COVID-19, as well as respiratory syndromes such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and it was deemed a worldwide pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, by the World Health Organization. Precautions to prevent its spread have resulted in the cancellation of most large gatherings and the closure of schools throughout Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency in Wisconsin on Thursday March 12. 

As of Tuesday, March 17 at 8:54 a.m., there were 47 confirmed coronavirus cases in Wisconsin according to the state Department of Health Services website.

Renee Hickman can be contacted at renee.hickman@wcinet.com or follow her on Twitter at @ReneeNHickman