Absentee ballots 2020

Clerks all over Dane County are encouraging voters to request absentee ballots by mail, rather than voting on Election Day.

Verona-area voters are making sure their votes get counted, despite the threat of coronavirus.

Absentee ballots are flooding into the clerk’s office city clerk Ellen Clark told the Press. And city staff are working overtime to make sure everyone who requests them receives their ballots.

Given the threat of coronavirus however, Clark told the Press in an email on the morning of Tuesday, March 24 that in-person absentee voting would end that day at 4:30 p.m.

Individual appointments can be made on a case-by-case basis for in-person absentee voting for those who have no other way to request a ballot or need special accomodation by calling608-845-6495.

Clark said in an email that her office had received 2,723 requests for ballots as of 2 p.m. on Friday, March 20, which includes in-person absentee voters.

That’s a significant increase since the 2016 spring election, which was the last time a presidential primary was held. Clark said the current number of absentee ballots given for this year is half the total number of all votes cast during the 2016 spring election.

The Town of Verona has also seen a significant increase in absentee ballots being mailed out. As of Saturday, March 21, town clerk John Wright said he had issued over 360 absentee ballots. The majority of those ballots have been sent out via mail, with six ballots sent by email and 39 being residents who came to the town hall to vote absentee in person.

During the 2016 spring election, Wright said there had been a total of 140 absentee ballots sent out or filed in-person, which was a little more than 10% of the overall vote count.

As of press time Tuesday, in-person absentee voting for both the city and the town is available and polls will be open on election day, April 7.

But, Clark said city staff prefer absentee ballots to be mailed in. City employees who have since found their departments’ services or facilities limited because of COVID-19 are pitching in with the clerk’s office to process ballots.

“The best thing residents can do right now to help us, and themselves, is to vote absentee by mail,” Clark said. “Administration employees are all pitching in and working very hard to process the applications as they come in, and prepare the ballots for mailing … We are keeping up with the workload, and ballots are being mailed within one working day of receipt of the request.”

Voters can continue to request mail-in absentee ballots at myvote.wi.gov until the Thursday before the election, which is 5 p.m. on April 2 for the April 7 spring election.

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