Election vote counting needs to get kicked up a notch

Jim Baumgart  Sheboygan County Supervisor

First, let me say that having the responsibility and carrying out an election in Sheboygan County, or any county for that matter, is not always easy. But in saying that does not excuse delays in the election process that seemed to have taken place in the recent low voter turnout election that took place on Tuesday, April 1, of this year

This writer has been on the Sheboygan County Board for ten years. This year, as usual, I’ve encouraged people to run for office in this column at every election.

I had an opponent. He worked hard; seems to have gone to most homes in our 5th Sheboygan County Board District to give out his candidate information.

Once the election took place, as we discussed the following day, we both stayed up until after 11 p.m. and finally went to bed without knowing the election results. Even The Sheboygan Press indicated they had problems obtaining information from the Sheboygan County Clerk’s office that evening..

One has to remember, with some exceptions, it was a spring election with a low voter turnout. The ballots were processed by use of electronic machines, poll work- ers had certain responsibilities and work after the polls closed at 8:00 p.m. and they had to take the results to the Sheboygan County Administration Building.

In our case, that was maybe two miles away. One would expect the first early results should have been ready by 10:00 p.m. The answer or excuse given by the Sheboygan County Clerk was “its hard work” and “it’s more complex” then you think

Certainly, some results, like the school referendum in Sheboygan Falls School District that received a much larger voter turnout, people would expect those results to take longer to report. But when 300 to 400 votes are cast electronically at a voting poll a few miles away from the County Clerk’s office, that is another matter.

For whoever takes the time to vote or the energy to run for public office, the results for the candidates and news media need to be processed quickly.

The voter expects it.

Maybe the loss of a couple of staff recently from that office, or that the Sheboygan County Clerk is new to the job, could have also played a roll in the delay.

And, I am sure for the County Clerk to indicate that its “hard work” and “more complex” then we think also played a part. But “slow like snail” does provide a good deal of room and opportunity for improvement. It’s a chance to move from first gear to second gear or even better. I’m sure the news media and candidates running for office and looking for the election results would vote their approval for improved reporting as a good change in that office for everyone. In the public’s name, we all wish it goes so.

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