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More absentee ballots, less poll workers could delay election results

PHOTO: 'I voted' sticker, Photo Date: February 6, 2008 (Source: Denise Cross Photography / CC...
PHOTO: 'I voted' sticker, Photo Date: February 6, 2008 (Source: Denise Cross Photography / CC BY 2.0)(KMVT)
Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 7:45 PM CDT
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Tuesday marks one week until the April 7th spring election but a majority of votes could be cast absentee.

Area clerks say processing those ballots will take time on election night and poll workers could be in short supply.

In response to the shortage the Village of Suamico posted on Twitter Monday saying it will be combining polling locations.

Voters who usually vote at Idlewild Park Shelter will now be voting at the Municipal Services Center.

With voters hoping to avoid standing in line on election day area clerks say they're seeing a record number of absentee ballots coming in thru the mail.

Sue Ertmer says Winnebago County is no exception.

"It looks like some of the municipalities are around thirty, forty, fifty percent request for absentee voting so now these are requests that get mailed out, doesn't always mean they will be returned but those are still pretty significant numbers," said Ertmer who serves as Winnebago County Clerk.

In Fond du Lac, Clerk Maggie Hefter says her office is about three thousand ballots above the average for a typical spring election.

Plus, about half the city's poll workers have called off because of concerns over getting the coronavirus.

"We've actually also condensed some of the wards so typically we would have about five different locations in the city of polling locations but we've already condensed some of them and combined them, knowing that we would be short on workers," she added.

While the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Thursday, clerks continue to remind voters that the ballot must be returned through the mail by 8 o'clock on election night in order to be counted.

Otherwise it won't be.

Ertmer said,"I can only speak for here in Oshkosh, but since they closed down the processing at our postal station here in Oshkosh our mail all goes to Milwaukee. So the turnaround to mail something is sometimes two to three days. So I would think if they have an absentee ballot, they should get it mailed by tomorrow or Wednesday."

If it's slow on election day, clerks will process some of the ballots at that time.

Otherwise, it will happen after the polls close so many expect it to be a much later night in determining who won what.