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Wisconsin city clerks trying to ease concerns about votes being counted

Posted at 6:34 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 19:35:53-04

MENOMONEE FALLS — As part of our 2020 Election coverage, we are bringing you a behind-the-scenes look at voting in communities throughout southeast Wisconsin: how the process is going so far, and the safeguards that are in place.

Today, we check-in on Menomonee Falls and West Bend.

In both communities, the teams in charge of working the election and handling ballots, say they’re answering more questions than ever before about votes being counted.

“People are concerned about their vote counting, even though we assure them that we’ve checked their ballot in, and we do our due diligence when we receive ballots,” said Janice Moyer, Village Clerk Treasurer in Menomonee Falls. “We are available by phone or email to answer any questions.”

Moyer took us through the process of how ballots are retrieved, counted and stored in a double-lock system. Everything is dated and documented for proof.

“I understand the process from beginning to end,” she said. “I know what it takes, and I know how secure our elections are. We want people to feel confident in this process.”

Moyer’s been a clerk for 40 years. Ten of them have been in Menomonee Falls. She says this election is unlike any other.

“It’s been a very difficult election cycle,” she said. “It’s a shame that there is a lot of misinformation out there. A lot of the processes we use, we’ve had in place for many years.”

Including the process for absentee voting, which more people are choosing to do this year.

During the presidential election four years ago, 1,300 ballots were returned by mail in Menomonee Falls. This year, more than 6,000 ballots have already been received by mail in Menomonee Falls, and there are still two weeks to go until Election Day.

Just up the road in West Bend, City Clerk Stephanie Justmann is also handling more absentee ballots than ever before. She too is trying to ease any voter concerns, especially when it comes to the city’s one drop box at City Hall.

“Anyone who drops off their ballot there should feel confident, because there is a camera on that ballot box 24/7,” Justmann said. “We empty the dropbox regularly, and track who empties it, and when. Then, we check every ballot, and at the end of the day we enter them into our statewide voter registration system.”

West Bend poll workers are also trained to offer curbside voting to anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable entering a building this year due to coronavirus.

Both the Menomonee Falls and West Bend clerks are asking for patience, especially as in-person voting starts next week. They’ll try to provide masks to anyone who may needs one, and they encourage everyone to respect physical distancing.

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