Skip to comments.WI: Election clerks once again miss federal absentee ballot deadline
Posted on 07/06/2012 6:46:10 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
MADISON More than three dozen local election clerks appear to have missed a federally mandated deadline for sending out absentee ballots to military and overseas voters, according to the Government Accountability Board. Election officials had until this past Saturday to send out ballots requested by military and overseas voters who want to vote in the Aug. 14 primary in which Republicans will choose a U.S. Senate candidate to face the Democratic candidate, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl. The number of clerks who missed the deadline may change, as some 265 municipal clerks still havent told the GAB if they had any ballot requests, and GAB staff believe that some of the clerks who did respond to a survey might have responded incorrectly. But it nevertheless marks another in a string of elections in which Wisconsin has failed to comply with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act.
The MOVE Act is intended to ensure that military and overseas voters have ample time to receive a ballot, vote and return the ballot in time for it to be counted in the election. It requires absentee ballots be sent out to military and overseas voters no later than 45 days before a federal election.
We have continued to communicate with clerks about the importance of meeting the deadlines for sending out military and overseas absentee ballots, GAB spokesman Reid Magney wrote in an email to Wisconsin Reporter.
Getting local election officials to comply with MOVE Act requirements has been a repeated problem.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuits against Wisconsin and four other states for not giving overseas voters enough time to return ballots.
In response, Wisconsin lawmakers last year voted to move the fall primary back to August to ensure the state could meet MOVE Act requirements.
This past March, the DOJ again filed a lawsuit against the State of Wisconsin and the GAB, charging noncompliance after dozens of Wisconsin clerks missed the 45-day deadline for sending out ballots to overseas and military voters prior to the April election.
At least 227 ballots were sent late prior to that election, according to GAB, some by nearly a month.
As part of an agreement with the DOJ stemming from the lawsuit, GAB agreed to closely monitor clerks for MOVE Act compliance for the rest of 2012.
The latest report was due to DOJ on Thursday and indicated that 39 clerks missed Saturdays deadline.
However, we believe that many of those clerks may have misread the survey and indicated that they did not comply with the deadline when in fact they intended to indicate that they did not have any requests on file, according to the letter to DOJ, signed by GAB Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy. We are following up with those municipalities to verify their responses and will provide a follow-up report to you.
Magney said the agreement with DOJ requires, among other things, ascertaining clerks capacity to honor the Federal 45-day absentee ballot transit requirement, specifically, whether they are able to fax or email out a ballot.
Clerks responses to Wisconsin Reporter inquiries, however, highlight the complexity of an elections process administered by nearly 2,000 people 72 county clerks and 1,851 municipal clerks, all overseen by the GAB.
Local officials supervise elections, including equipping polling places, buying and maintaining voting equipment, training poll workers, and preparing appropriate notices, publications and ballots.
City of Barron Clerk-Treasurer Tony Slagstad incorrectly was listed as a clerk who missed the MOVE Act deadline following the April election an error the GAB ultimately corrected.
City of Verona Clerk Kami Lynch said she missed the deadline prior to the spring election because the Statewide Voter Registration System kept freezing on her and wouldnt allow her to generate the labels required to track the ballots.
City of Gillett Clerk Leone Christensen said, in the last election, her office missed the deadline because an absentee voter didnt request a ballot until after the deadline had passed and, Christensen said, there was some confusion in her office.
This time, we got the ballot out to her, Christensen said. We actually got a response back from her, and shes not voting.
The GAB has tried to improve the situation by asking clerks to complete surveys about, among other things, whether they met mandatory deadlines.
But Lynch questioned the surveys ability to make a difference.
The surveys, they are very quick, so theyre not a burden to do, she said. However, theyre very broad, so Im not sure what theyre really accomplishing for the GAB.
Wisconsin absentee ballot deaadline ping
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping.
The latest report was due to DOJ on Thursday and indicated that 39 clerks missed Saturdays deadline need to be fired and fined big.
People need to go to jail for this.
GOVERNOR WALKER: FIRE THEM~~!!!!!!
Well at least we know that Holder will be right on this, just as soon as he puts that minor annoyance, Fast and Furious, behind him.
Throw them in jail.
Gov. Walker does NOT have the power to fire municipal clerks. That is up to the individual towns, villages, and cities. IOW, that is up to YOU. If citizens of Wisconsin put enough pressure on their Aldermen and other Representatives, the inefficient clerks will be replaced.
One thing the state CAN do, is pass a law such that if the military absentee ballots from a district are not mailed out on time, then NO absentee ballots can be counted from that district.
Let’s see how many elections have we had to endure this year?
You can’t turn around these days without voting in some crazy recall or or local race. Cut the clerks some slack, direct your irr at the partisan van for holding wis voters for ransom.
Please add to ping list,thanks.
I think that already they allow extra time for those ballots to come in and be counted. I think that is why the count is not official until after the canvas which happens about a week later. That also allows for all the provisional ballots to be counted, or not, depending upon whether provisional voters showed up at City Hall with their proper IDs.
But, I agree. They could be more strict on this.
Any idea where to get the list?
I guess no-one wrote down clear instructions in English, instead of relying on the clerks to each read legalese and interpret it...
Sounds like it actually could be a GAB problem.
What a great idea!! You should start a vanity with this suggestion. Perhaps it can be adopted in legislatures around the country on a state level. It may have a great impact in states where the legislature has integrity and the governor is a Democrat.
Unfoortunately, no. Eventually someone will make it public, and I’ll post it then, if I see it.