Emilie Conlon, Editor-in-Chief
Clerks in villages and townships around the area have said they are seeing a high number of absentee ballots requested, but are prepared for in-person voting for the Nov. 3 election.
Clerks throughout the area have reported having plenty of poll workers to take on in-person voting on election day, many with enough for alternates.
In the town of Spring Green, Clerk Vicki Terpstra said the office expects to have plenty of volunteer poll workers for election day, and actually had the opportunity to train all new poll workers prior to the April election, that will also be volunteering in November.
“We actually had a whole new crew that we had to start up in April,” said Terpstra. “It’s been good, we’ve had a lot of people step up to the plate.”
While area clerks expect to have enough poll workers, Sauk County Clerk Becky Evert in a press release stated that many municipalities in the county were in need of poll workers for election day.
According to the press release, any citizen over can serve as a poll worker, and is encouraged to apply by contacting Evert via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Town of Clyde Clerk Deanna Brennum expects to have plenty of poll workers on election day, but still encourages residents to volunteer, as COVID-19 has caused a state-wide shortage.
“I have my poll workers in place with alternates if someone is not able to make it,” said Brennum. “If you are interested in becoming a poll worker, please contact your county clerk. Because of COVID-19, there is shortage and poll workers are needed throughout the state.
While in-person absentee voting began Tuesday, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot passed, village and town clerks have reported high numbers of absentee ballots.
Village of Spring Green Clerk Wendy Crary said over 500 absentee ballots have been requested.
“I gave up doing a daily count, I can’t keep up. We’re getting them everyday, and we process them everyday,” said Crary. “We’re already at and above 50% of our registered voters. So, I’m not looking for a significant number of in-person individuals.”
Terpstra said she is expecting the town of Spring Green to have predominantly in-person voting on election day, for both day-of voting and in-person absentee voting.
In the village of Plain, Clerk Sheila Carver said 172 ballots have been requested so far, compared to the 214 returned for the April election.
Carver said she is expecting about 450 voters for the election, about 40% she expected to be absentee voting.
For the village of Arena, Clerk DaNean Naeger said her office has about 160 absentee ballots requested already, which is almost identical to the 159 returned for the April election.
Naeger said she expects to have a majority of votes cast via absentee ballot.
Brennum said absentee ballots for the November election are down compared to April’s election, with about 73 being requested currently, and 97 returned in April.
“At this point, I am having an in person absentee ballot date and expect a good turnout before the election,” said Brennum. “Also, I think we will probably be half and half between in person voting and absentee ballots.”
For the town of Wyoming, 107 absentee ballots requested, compared to the 112 in April’s election.
“We had about 260 registered voters but have received several new registrations,” said Town Clerk Mary Lloyd-Jones.
All clerks have reported that poll workers, observers and voters will be encouraged to wear masks. They have said they will be encouraging single-use pens and will be disinfecting surfaces throughout the day.
Many clerks said they have installed plexiglas dividers between poll workers and voters.
Crary said due to COVID-19, poll workers in the village will not be working in shifts, but instead one longer shift all day.
“Normally we’d do a split shift, where half of them work the morning and half of them work the evening shift, because it is a very long day, no matter how old you are,” said Crary. “But in light of the fact that we’re figuring less contact is better, we’re going to run a single shift.”
Plain and the village of Spring Green offer drop boxes that can be used for dropping off absentee ballots in front of the municipal buildings.
The town of Spring Green will hold in-person absentee voting the week of Oct. 19 by appointment.
At other municipalities in the area, residents can return absentee ballots by mail or drop them off at the clerk’s office.