Elections in Wisconsin are by and large going smoothly. I visited the Leisure Center in Menomonie and the polls in Town of Dunn. Both reported that things have been going well, and that they had a very big rush of voters when they opened, but since early morning the traffic has been typical. Town of Dunn reported that they had 620 early absentee ballots filed, and about 200 people had voted in person as of about 1 PM today. This means that the turnout there will be similar to in other presidential elections,  or perhaps slightly higher.

We received a couple of reports that the election workers in Town of Stanton (Dunn County) were not reliably wearing masks or following social distancing rules. We spoke in email to Reid Magney, the media contact for the Wisconsin Election Commission and were told that the Commission had received complaints about that and had spoke to the election officials in the Township. When we asked about this on the 5 PM Media Call with the Elections Commission Megan Wolfe, the Elections Commission Administrator told us that issues with poll workers not wearing masks were not frequent today, and this was an outlying issue. Poll workers and observers are required to wear masks at  the polls, while voters are highly encouraged to wear masks but they cannot be denied the right to vote because they are not wearing a mask.

Voting in Outagamie County is going well despite the issues that they have had with having sent defective ballots to some absentee voters. The ballots have a white line through one of the timing marks, and as a result will not be read in the voting tabulator machines. Poll workers must manually make a new good ballot in those cases by transferring the votes from the defective ballots. It is likely that this will delay returns from the county since as many as 13,000 ballots may need to be re-worked. National Guard staff have been assigned to this jurisdiction to help with running the polls, and have also been assigned to other places that are short-staffed. There were still, as of early this afternoon, approximately 200 National Guard workers who had not been assigned and were still being held for other emergencies. None of the National Guard are working at the polls in a policing function, but are working as poll workers.

In the 5 PM media call today it was announced that approximately 970 of the absentee ballots received in the state needed to be returned to the voter due to some deficiency. The actual final number may be lower than that because some of the voters may have cured their ballots today. In any case, that is a much lower rate of rejection than was anticipated. 

There have been no reports of municipalities that are particularly struggling with voting.

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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