Green Bay City Clerk responds to spring election concerns

Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 11:18 PM CDT
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We told you first Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno called Green Bay's spring election “mismanaged.”

During Tuesday’s virtual city council meeting, Clerk Kris Teske fired back, defending the work she and her staff did to make the election possible.

“...Sandy Juno has no idea how to run a polling location because that's not in her job description,” said Teske. “I feel she is trying to deflect the issue that some of the people who requested absentee ballots didn’t get them, but everyone in line at the polls did get to vote.”

Clerk Teske informed the council of the many items her office was dealing with in the weeks, days and hours leading up to election day.

Teske says she did ask Brown County for help, and got an additional staff member from the county with all the training to help in her office, but it wasn’t enough.

The clerk and the deputy clerk are the only ones who are notified when an absentee ballot is requested which is through email. She says they had 17,000 emails, which eventually clogged up the serves.

Aside from that, the clerk’s office was also fielding hundreds of calls.

Teske explained there were scenarios where people were making more than one request for a ballot, sometimes many different ways, contributing to a slower process.

“The WEC (Wisconsin Elections Commission) system allows a voters to request as many times as they want. We had one person request 11 times. Eleven times we still have to print and touch that, nothing tells us, oh that person did that already.”

Teske says her main priority was ensuring the election was balanced, which is why she did not rely on people who were not properly trained, including those with the National Guard.

When it comes to in-person polling locations Teske says UW-Green Bay which accommodates three wards, pulled out as a polling place this year.

Other polling locations were too small to accommodate social distancing and with poll workers dropping out, that led to the decision to have two polling locations with multiple wards in each.

Teske says that played a role in processing each voter because they were from different wards.

“The poll workers had to pull the book with the number sheet, check that off, give them a number, put the number by their name, give proper ballot, which again there would have been 23 different ballots or 24,” said Teske.

Clerk Teske apologizes to the people who did not receive an absentee ballot in time and did not get to vote as a result.

She says now the clerk's office is starting to plan for the fall elections.

One thing Mayor Eric Genrich hopes to be looked into is how to properly utilize drive-up voting.