In a teleconference yesterday the Wisconsin Elections Commission developed new plans for the remaining 2020 elections, including plans to distribute CARES money to municipalities in the state and to mail absentee ballot information to registered voters.

The commission intends to spend slightly over $4 million of CARES money to help local municipalities to pay for unexpected expenses in running elections due to the pandemic. This includes printing of additional paper ballots, postage, cleaning supplies, dropboxes, etc. The money may only be spent on items that were not previously anticipated or budgeted in the municipality.

Today's memo based on yesterday's call also plans for sending mailings to registered voters in the state that include information on absentee ballots and a sample absentee ballot request form. Data entry for forms received from this mailing will be done by the state commission, but the requests will still be reviewed and fulfilled by local municipality staff. 

The commission is currently considering who should receive these mailings. They may be sent out to all registered voters, but the commission will likely decide to exclude some voters from the mailing, including those on the Active Movers list, those who have an absentee ballot on file, or those who have a photo ID on file at their local municipality. Staff has recommended not sending the mailing to those who have a previous application on file and those on the Active Movers list. It is believed this would avoid sending the ballot applications to those who are least likely to respond. This would exclude approximately 700,000 potential voters from the mailing. 

There had previously been some discussion of re-designing the absentee ballot return envelopes because the commission wanted to include barcode tracking on the envelopes and it was believed that could not be done with the current envelope design. It is now believed that the barcodes could now be used with the current envelopes, so the issue of re-designing the envelopes is being postponed until 2021.

The memo is attached below - read it for full details. 

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley



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