• WisPolitics


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

 6:32 PM 

Clerks report issues with voters improperly casting ballots in both guv primaries

Several clerks say they’re having issues with voters trying to cast ballots in both guv primaries, which invalidates their ballot.

Eau Claire Clerk Donna Austad said voters are not listening to the instructions poll workers are giving them to cast ballots in only one of the guv primaries. Some have insisted that they heard on the news or read in the paper they were allowed to cast ballots in both of those races.

Unlike a normal election, voters can for in the GOP primary for guv, for example, and the Dem primary for lt. guv. But they are only allowed to vote in one primary per race, so they cannot vote in the GOP guv primary and the Dem race.

When those ballots are counted by the machines, they are invalidated and voters are given another ballot.

Austad said that’s causing some issues. City officials expected turnout to be about 30 percent to 35 percent. But by 5 p.m., about 25 percent of registered voters had already cast ballots, and she projected it would hit about 40 percent. The city ordered ballots based on its turnout projection with a cushion in case it went higher. But the voting errors are forcing officials to move ballots between wards to make sure they don’t run out.

“When you anticipate a turnout, that’s what you order,” she said. ““How do you anticipate how many people are going to require a second or third ballot?”

Other clerks said they’re having similar experiences.

Wausau Clerk Toni Rayala said her office received a number of calls before today with questions about voting in the primaries, and poll workers are taking time to explain that to voters, but it was still an issue.

It was the same problem in Milwaukee, said Election Commissioner Sue Edman.

“We’re having our inspectors remind voters that you can only vote Democrat or Republican, to not vote both” in the guv primaries, she said.

“It’s been a problem throughout the day, but we’re just having our poll workers remind people.”

-- By JR Ross

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