Here are some questions and answers from the most recent webinar and live training sessions. Questions may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When will webinars be offered for the Presidential Election?
The City Clerk's Office will offer four different webinars before the 2020 General Election. The live webinars will be held at 11 a.m. on October 6 (Election Day Voter Registration), October 13 (Processing Absentees at the Polls), October 20 (Opening & Closing the Polls), and October 27 (Campus Polling Locations). Each webinar will also be available at the same link for replay.
Does the webinar fulfill my training requirement?
Yes, it does. Make sure you check the box indicating you watched the webinar when you complete the payroll sheet at your polling place on Election Day.
Where can I watch the webinar?
Watch the webinar online using the links listed above. The same link can be used to watch a replay of the webinar.
Is a copy of the handout available on the website?
Yes, the Election Day Registration handout is available here. The Processing Absentee Ballots at the Polls handout is available here. The Opening and Closing the Polls handout is available here. The Campus handout is available here. The Chief Inspector training handout is available here.
Does Public Health recommend that we isolate ourselves from family after working at the polls?
Here is the answer from Public Health:At this time, we only require quarantine after a close contact to a known case. Poll workers are correct to identify their increased risk by working at the polls and should determine for themselves what is best for their family.If a poll worker follows the recommendations posted on our web page and the precautions taken during the April election are in place, there should not a need for a poll worker to quarantine from other members of their household.As an example, I have been working at our pop-up test sites the past few weeks and have been in contact with individuals that tested positive for COVID-19. By wearing the necessary PPE, practicing good hand hygiene, and disinfecting all surfaces I contact I have been able to keep my family safe. In addition, I wash all my clothes and take a shower once I return home from working the test sites.
What do we do if a voter moved on November 1?
They would not have been at their new address long enough to establish residency, so they should vote at the polling place for their former Wisconsin address. If they moved from another state on November 1 and were ineligible to vote absentee in that other state, they may apply for a presidential ballot.
What if there is a line of cars waiting to vote curbside at 8 p.m.?
An election official should stand beside the last car in the line to serve as the "end of line officer," making sure everyone in line at 8 p.m. is able to vote, and that nobody joins the line after 8 p.m.
Will there be a watermark on the poll book for voters who may have moved?
This will be the same as the elections in April and August. If a voter was sent a mailing because the state had reason to believe they may have moved, and that voter has yet to confirm that they are still at the address where they are registered to vote, the poll book will have a watermark prompting the poll worker to ask the voter whether they have moved. If the voter has not moved, signing the poll book provides the Clerk’s Office with confirmation of their address.
When did voters need to establish residency for this election?
The voter residency requirement is now 28 days. Voters who moved on October 6 or earlier are eligible to vote from their new address. Voters who moved on October 7 or later would only be eligible to vote from their previous address.
You said we shouldn't touch the voter's ID. If we have a curbside voter, shouldn't we take their ID into the polling place?
No. You are checking a curbside voter's ID at the curb. There is no need to touch the ID or bring it into the polling location.
What if the address on a voter's ID is outdated?
When we are checking a voter's ID, we are verifying their identity. We shouldn't even be looking at the address on the ID to verify identity.
How do we know if someone is telling the truth if they say they did not return an absentee ballot?
If you have processed an absentee ballot for the voter, there will already be a voter slip number next to the voter's name on the poll book. If you go to process an absentee ballot for someone who has already voted in person, there will already be a voter slip number next to the voter's name on the poll book; you will reject the absentee and the District Attorney will follow up after Election Day.
If a voter says they requested an absentee ballot but chose not to mail it back, can they vote in person?
Yes, they can vote in person as long as they did not return their absentee ballot.
If a voter dropping off their absentee ballot does not have an address for their witness, would they have the option of spoiling their ballot and voting in person?
If the voter has already handed over their absentee to a poll worker, they may not vote in person. Do not touch a voter's absentee envelope until you look to see whether the certificate is complete.
If a person is dropping off an absentee ballot and the certificate is incomplete, can we void the first ballot and let them vote in person?
Do not touch a voter's absentee envelope until you look to see whether the certificate is complete. If the certificate is incomplete, suggest to the voter that they not turn in that absentee envelope because it will be rejected, and that they vote in person instead.
Didn't you say last week that we can bring a voter who refuses to wear a mask to the front of the line?
Yes, in the interest of public safety, please minimize the amount of time a voter without a mask would be in the polling place.
How do we know if an absentee envelope is signed by someone who is not a registered voter?
There is no requirement that an absentee voter's witness be registered to vote.
Is it an issue if we took a medication, e.g., ibuprofen, within the last week that reduces fever but was taken for a non-fever related reason?
Yes, that is an issue. In order to be able to work in the office, your City Clerk has gone most of the year without being able to take Tylenol for headaches or ibuprofen for other health issues. It can be frustrating, but it is important for public health reasons.
If a voter is in line before 8 p.m. to return their absentee ballot, but does not get to the head of the line until 8:01 p.m., can we accept that absentee ballot?
Yes. Each polling place designates an end-of-line officer to stand at the end of the voter line at 8 p.m. Everyone who was in line by 8 p.m. can be served.
You mentioned that a person who brings their absentee ballot into the polling place and says they want to vote in person should bring the absentee back to their vehicle. What if the voter walked to the polling place?
In that case, ask the voter to write "void" on their absentee and then place it in their pocket or shirt. Keep a close eye on the voter to make sure they do not feed two ballots into the tabulator. We cannot take custody of that absentee ballot, so the Discarded Ballot Envelope is not an option here. The voter may only cast a ballot issued at the polling place; they may not cast their absentee ballot at the polls.
What should we do if we see or hear about unofficial poll watchers?
Anyone can be a poll watcher (election observer) in Wisconsin. Observers need to check in with the Chief Inspector.
Will we be checking the signature on the absentee envelope against the signature on file?
No. Wisconsin is not a signature matching state.
Do the rules for UW and Edgewood apply to private colleges like Herzing?
The rules for using a college student ID as student ID would be the same. The rules for using a fee statement along with a college ID as proof of residence would be the same for Edgewood and Herzing. A UW fee statement would work as proof of residence on its own, though, because it is a government document.
What do we do it a ballot gets wet?
Issue the voter a second ballot. The voter should partially tear the ballot that got wet, and place it in the Discarded Ballot envelope.
Can election officials try to contact voters whose absentee certificates are incomplete?
Absolutely. Tell the voter that they can come to the polling place with their original witness to complete the certificate.
Is there a way for officials at the polling place to know if a voter is deceased?
The Clerk's Office matches voter records with state death records every month, and cancels the registrations of voters who have passed away. If someone dies right before Election Day, someone from the neighborhood who is at the polling place may know that the voter is deceased.
Where do we check absentee voter names against the ineligible list?
Check before taking the absentee envelopes to the poll book. You will find several copies of the ineligible list on the black absentee binder. If an absentee voter's name is on the ineligible list, you would challenge the absentee at the poll book.
If we are checking absentee envelopes into the poll book and a voter enters the polling place, shouldn't we step aside to allow the voter to immediately access the poll book?
No. If you immediately stop processing absentees whenever a voter enters the polling place, your actions will come across as highly suspicious. Why would you suddenly stop processing absentees unless you had something to hide? We want to be transparent. Let the voters in the polling place see you processing absentee ballots.
I thought that a college student cannot just show a college ID to prove their address.
A college student can show their college ID to prove their address if, and only if, they are residing in a campus residence hall and are listed on the certified housing list provided by UW-Madison or Edgewood College. Their address will not appear on the student ID, but will appear on the certified housing list.
What do we do if a voter at the polls says they did not return an absentee ballot and then votes at the polls, but later in the day their absentee ballot is delivered to the polls?
Reject the absentee, documenting that the reason for rejection is that the voter already voted. After Election Day, the District Attorney will investigate and take any appropriate action.
Can someone drop off their absentee ballot at 8:01 p.m. as long as there are still people in line to vote?
No, the absentee ballot must be returned to the polling place by 8 p.m.
I am volunteering my time at the polls. How to I report that I watched the webinar?
The Chief Inspector will have everyone working at the polls fill out the payroll sheet. On the payroll sheet, you will indicate whether you want to be paid, and will check the box indicating that you attended training.
Can a curbside voter wait to find out that their ballot was successfully counted?
Yes! As long as the voter is not in a hurry to leave, they could wait in their vehicle for the poll workers to come back outside with a thumbs up, indicating that the ballot was successfully counted. If the tabulator returns the ballot due to an over-vote, the curbside voter could then get a replacement ballot.
In the past, we have processed three absentee ballots at a time. Is that still the case?
We suggest processing three to five absentees at a time, to preserve the secrecy of each ballot.
I am on the Rapid Response Team. When the polling place I am at closes for the night, should I relocate to another location?
Yes, please. When you finish closing, call the Clerk's Office to find out if another polling location still needs some help.
How do we reconcile the number of voters with the number of ballots if people are voting?
You will need to do a little math. Add the number of people currently voting to the number of ballots counted by the tabulator, and compare that number to the last voter slip issued.
Can we leave the polling place during our break to get a cup of coffee or something quick, to go?
Yes, you can.
Does the line close at 8 p.m. exactly, or anytime during the next minute, e.g., 8:00:10?
The polls close at 8 p.m. sharp, and nobody else may join the line at that time.
I'm working the morning shift. Will I be able to find out the closing results?
Yes, you can watch for the results to be posted on the County Clerk's website on election night, or you can return to the polls at closing time to get the results firsthand.
Do we need to remake Presidential Ballots onto official ballots?
Yes, a ballot that lists only the office of president would need to be remade. These ballots are cast by voters who moved to Wisconsin within 28 days of the election and did not qualify for an absentee ballot from their previous state.
Does the emergency bin remain sealed until the closing of the polls?
The emergency bin should be closed when not in use, but opened when the tabulator cannot be used, e.g., when you are trying to clear a ballot jam. Once the tabulator is functioning, officials should process the ballots that had been inserted into the emergency bin.
Will the poll books be split into A-L and M-Z?
Most will be split. Our largest wards will have poll books split into three. Small wards will start the day without poll book splits. You are welcome to further split the poll book as needed.
I am a high school poll worker. What tasks can I do at the polls?
You can do any poll worker task other than challenging a voter.
Do curbside voters need to sign the poll book?
No, they are exempt from signing the poll book.
Can somebody other than the voter turn in an absentee ballot?
Yes, a voter may have someone else deliver their absentee ballot to the polls.
What do we do if someone disrupts voting or intimidates the voters?
Notify the Chief Inspector, and they will deal with the situation.
Can the Chief Inspector require an observer to leave if they won't wear a mask?
Yes. Observers will be required to wear masks. If they refuse to do so, the Chief will order them to leave the polling location.
If there are multiple voters in a vehicle, can the curbside election officials retrieve ballots for all vehicle occupants at the same time?
Yes, that would be fine.
What if an absentee ballot was completed with a Sharpie?
Make sure the Sharpie did not bleed through the ballot into ovals for offices listed on the back of the ballot, if any.
If we know that a voter has died, but the date on their absentee certificate envelope precedes the date of death, is that absentee ballot counted?
No. In Wisconsin, you need to be alive at the time your ballot is counted.
If an absentee ballot needs to be remade, can we remake it using the ExpressVote?
Yes, you can. Just be sure to include all of the necessary documentation at the bottom of the ExpressVote ballot card.
If a voter number is assigned to an absentee voter, do we need to write A on the voter slip?
No, that is not necessary.
Why do we write A on the certificate envelope when it obviously is an absentee?
Our hope is that being consistent with how we document absentee voter numbers will make it easier when you rotate to working at the poll book.
If a voter shows up with an absentee ballot that does not have a witness name or address, can a poll worker be their witness?
A witness is certifying that the voter started with a blank ballot and was not forced to vote a certain way. We should recommend that this voter not return their incomplete absentee envelope to be rejected, but vote at the polls instead.
Should we alphabetize the absentee envelopes after they have been processed?
That isn't necessary, but it probably would be helpful to have the envelopes in close to alphabetical order in case you need to retrieve a particular envelope later in the day.
Can a voter obtain an ID from the DMV without actually visiting the DMV?
We would recommend checking with the Dane County Voter ID Coalition for help with questions like this. Their help line is 608-285-2141.
Can a voter request to vote curbside on foot or by bicycle?
Yes, they can.
Does the Y or N (for the question on returning an absentee) need to be written on both copies of the poll book?
Yes, please write this in both copies of the poll book.
Can passport cards issued by the U.S. government be used as voter ID?
Yes, they can.
Can a voter change their mind and get a replacement ballot at the polls on Election Day despite having already mailed in an absentee ballot?
No, that would be a felony.
Can any poll worker request a face shield, in addition to the face mask they are wearing?
Will the poll workers who will be working curbside know ahead of time so they can dress appropriately?
We will be rotating tasks throughout the day, so all officials should wear layers and be prepared to help curbside voters.
What color are the ASM student bus passes for this semester?
The bus passes are yellow this semester.
If I am volunteering, how do I report that I attended training?
You will be filling out the payroll sheet, even if you are volunteering. On the payroll sheet, you will indicate whether you want to be paid, and you will indicate that you participated in a training session.
Where do we find the presidential ballots?
They will be in a large envelope in your voter registration table accordion folder.
If a voter marks a party selection at the top of the ballot, but no candidates for that office, will the tabulator automatically count candidates for that party?
No. There is no party selection on the November ballot, and there is no straight party ticket voting.
Will the tabulator issue a cross-over warning if a voter selects candidates for more than one party?
Cross-over voting only applies to the Partisan Primary, which was in August. The voter does not need to stick to one party in November.