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Finding mistakes, Neenah Clerk urges voters to follow instructions on absentee ballots

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 6:05 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - More Wisconsinites are expected to vote absentee this November than ever before. But, as ballots start to arrive back in clerk’s offices, some aren’t complete.

The number of people voting absentee this November is the highest local clerks have ever seen.

“It’s unbelievable,” says Neenah Clerk, Stephanie Cheslock. She adds, “Normally for an election we might have a thousand overall, including in-office absentees, we sent out about 6,000 in our bulk mailer in mid-September.”

And now those absentee ballots are starting to be returned. Some are being hand delivered by voters to the clerk’s office, others dropped off in the city’s drop box, and even more through the mail. But, according Stephanie Cheslock, so far, between 20 and 30 of the returned ballots haven’t been properly cured or certified by voters, meaning they can be rejected on Election Day.

“You need two signatures and a witness address for every single envelope you’re sending back. So, if you’re witnessing for your husband or wife, make sure they do it for you as well. So, voter needs to sign, witness needs to sign an witness needs to provide their address,” says Cheslock.

This issue isn’t just in Neenah, voters in every community have the same requirements to cure their ballot. So, when a clerk’s office receives a ballot that is missing a signature or the witness address, the clerk is obligated to try and track that person down.

Cheslock says, “We try and reach out in any way we can, so that they understand and we always send a letter with it when we do send it back explaining what’s missing and how to fix it and reminding of deadlines for when they need to get it back to us so we help as much as we can.”

So, if voters do receive their absentee ballot back, because the certification envelope wasn’t completed, they are asked to follow the directions and return their ballot to their clerk as soon as possible.

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