Election Tuesday in Wisconsin and a bit of a peculiar take from La Crosse County clerk Ginny Dankmeyer.
Dankmeyer, Monday on La Crosse Talk PM — Wisconsin state Sen. Brad Pfaff also stopped in studio — predicted a higher than usual turnout, but in the grand scheme of things, still very low despite these local elections being vastly important.
“Yeah, the April elections, you know, they’re kind of tricky,” Dankmeyer said. “Usually, we see between a 20-24 percent turnout, depending on what’s on the ballot.
“With 19 contested county board races and some of the school district races getting pretty hot, I hope we have a much better turnout than the 20-24 percent. I hope we’re pushing 30 percent, but that would probably be unrealistic of me to hope for much more than the 30 percent turnout at an April election.”
With redistricting, the county board did add one seat and the voting lines did move, so some people will have new polling places, while others may have new voting districts. Polling places are open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. throughout the state.
“Only the people that live in the city of La Crosse, and the city of Onalaska will probably have a new polling place. So they need to make sure they’re checking that,” Dankmeyer said, noting that myvote.wi.gov is great for looking that up. “A lot of other people may have a new supervisory district — if you live in the towns or villages — but you still go to your town hall, your village hall to vote.
“So, you’re polling place isn’t going to change for that, but you may have a different supervisory district that you’re voting in.”
The MyVote website will also help you determine what’s on your ballot, so you don’t have to cram while on your phone in the voting booth.
“West Salem has a school district referendum,” Dankmeyer said, relaying some of the things that might be seen on the ballot. “If you’re in the town of Greenfield, there’s a referendum on garbage pickup, and then, of course, there’s the countywide referendum on clean water.
“So some places are going to have a really busy ballot and some people will probably have a pretty boring ballot with not a lot of contested races on it, but that’s that’s par for the course with the spring election.”
Along with a higher turnout, Dankmeyer said the results should come sooner than in past elections, because the voting machines have modems.
“I’m hoping by 9-9:30 (p.m.) we have all the results in,” Dankmeyer said. “There’s still a couple places that would have to bring the results in because they don’t have service to modem. But the results are going to be posted a lot sooner than what we’ve typically seen.
“And then, again, of course, these are unofficial until we do our canvas on Friday when we review everything.”
With canvassing, Dankmeyer, who’s been the clerk in La Crosse for 11 years, joked that there’s always something that comes up.
“I think we’ve done it enough that we have it pretty down but it wouldn’t be an election if there weren’t some bumps along the way,” she said.
But, she added just how much work goes into that canvassing process.
“It is very tedious, but that’s the point of it,” Dankmeyer said. “We’re going to look at each of the municipalities, each of the polling places. How many voter numbers did you issue on the poll book? Does that match how many ballots went through the machine? You know, how many absentee voters did you have?
“We’re just going through and reconciling all the numbers — make sure everything matches up. If something doesn’t match up, we want to know why and we’re going to try to find an answer for that. So, it’s a very tedious process, but that’s what we do to make sure that the integrity and security of elections are upheld.”