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Ballot confusion in Senate primary

Absentee voters may get two ballots, but only one counts

Oct. 3, 2012

A special primary election to fill a vacancy in the 33rd State Senate District that will be held in conjunction with the Nov. 6 general election will pose some challenges for local election officials. It could also create confusion for voters casting absentee ballots and perhaps delay the determination of the winner of the primary contest.

State Reps. Chris Kapenga and Paul Farrow are seeking the Republican nomination to succeed former State Sen. Rich Zipperer, who resigned to accept a post in the governor's office. The winner of the primary election will be the GOP candidate in a special election Dec. 4.

The 33rd Senate District includes the Cities of Delafield and Waukesha, the Villages of Pewaukee, Sussex, Merton, Chenequa,Hartland, Wales, North Prairie, Dousman, Oconomowoc Lake and Nashotah as well as the Towns of Waukesha, Merton and Delafield and portions of the Town of Lisbon and portion of the Town of Mukwonago.

Gov. Scott Walker opted to fill the vacancy by election rather than appointment and wanted to hold the primary contest in conjunction with the regularly scheduled November general election.

However, the deadline for filing candidacy petitions for the primary election is not until Oct. 9, which is well after the time when state and county election officials print and distribute absentee ballots for the November general election. Consequently, voters who apply by mail to cast absentee ballots will receive two ballots - the second to accommodate the primary candidates once the filing deadline has passed.

Two ballots

According to the state Government Accountability Board, individuals who have applied for absentee ballots by mail will receive a paper general election ballot ("G" ballot) that does not include the state Senate primary contest. Voters who receive this ballot may cast it immediately, if they want.

If the ballot is returned immediately, it will not be counted until the Waukesha County election canvass is conducted on the Friday after the election (Nov. 9).

The absentee voter might opt to wait until mid- to late-October, when they will receive the second ballot. This ballot ("S" ballot) will include the state Senate primary as well as all of thecontests in the regularly scheduled general election.

If the absentee voter casts the "S" ballot, local election officials will reject any "G" ballot the voter might have cast earlier.

Someone who has applied for an absentee ballot and later decides he or she wants to vote in person may do so, provided the absentee ballot they cast was a "G" ballot, since it would not yet have been counted. But a person who has cast an "S" ballot cannot later decide to vote in person because their "S" ballot might have already been counted, according to City of Delafield Deputy Clerk Ellen O'Brien.

Possible delay in results

O'Brien and other clerks also acknowledged a possible delay in determining the results of the election if there are a large number of absentee ballots combined with a close election.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than the day of the election. Absentee ballots received on election day or later in the week are not counted until Nov. 9

In addition, mailed absentee "S" ballots must be reconciled with "B" ballots toensure that the proper "G" ballot is rejected if an "S" ballot was later cast by the same voter.

"It is complicated," added Sussex Village Clerk Sue Freiheit.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Family Movie Night: 6 p.m. April 25, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish Center, W314 N7462 Highway 83, North Lake. The movie “Bambi” will start at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Free hot dogs and snacks. Children must be accompanied by a parent. Come in comfy clothes and bring a blanket to relax with. RSVP to the parish office at (262) 966-2191 or at www.blteresaparish.org

Poetry Open Mic Night: 7 p.m. April 25, Books & Company, 1039 Summit Ave., Oconomowoc. Celebrate Poetry Month with an evening a poetry. Read your own or a favorite poet, or enjoy listening to others. Free.

The Brew City Rockers: 9 p.m. April 24, Burke’s Lakeside, 37238 Valley Road, Oconomowoc. The Brew City Rockers are celebrating spring with a party at Burke’s Lakeside. Enjoy a fish fry and stay for the party.

Grow Your Own Salad Gardening Class: 10 a.m. April 25, NuGenesis Farm, N68 W33208 County Road K, Oconomowoc. Join the NuGenesis staff to learn to grow your own delicious and healthy salads at home. $30 recommended donation. www.nugenesisfarm.org

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.