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Primary goes on without Lisbon town clerk, deputy clerk

Election inspectors in charge during voting

Feb. 20, 2013

Town of Lisbon - Town Clerk Jeff Musche said he was pleased with the performance of town election workers who conducted the February primary elections without the supervisory services of Musche and Deputy Clerk Cassy Rivers.

Musche and Rivers, who are the town officials primarily responsible for election operations, were both ill on Tuesday, primary election day.

It would have been Rivers first election in the town. She was hired last month.

The three chief election inspectors in each of the three town polling places, along with Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Kelly Shields, conducted the election without the clerk and deputy clerk.

"There really weren't any problems that couldn't be worked around," said Teresa Pelt, who has been chief inspector at the Richard Jung Fire Station polling place on Lisbon Road for nearly 10 years.

"We were all trained well," added Rebecca Heinritz, who has been chief inspector at Hamilton High School on Town Line Road for almost six years.

The day was also uneventful at the Town Hall polling place where Debi Brook, an election worker for 10 years, was chief inspector.

Brook and election workers Louise Evert and Laura Meissner had the votes counted and the voting paraphernalia packed away within 40 minutes after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

"If something like this was going to happen, this was the right election for it," Musche observed.

Voter turnout was projected to be about 8 percent in the town.

"Most people did not even know there was an election or what it was about, and then you had all of the snow," Pelt said.

The only contest on the ballot for many town voters was a statewide judicial primary contest. Some voters, however, also went to the polls to select members of the Richmond School Board, and voters in one ward cast ballots in a state legislative primary.

The problems for the clerk's office began developing the weekend before the election when Rivers' flu symptoms became so severe that she was hospitalized.

Musche did not find out how sick his deputy was until Monday night because he was having his own health issues.

Early Monday morning as he was preparing for work he began experiencing chest pains. The pains persisted, so he drove to a nearby clinic. The medical professionals at the clinic promptly called an ambulance and had him transferred to Waukesha Memorial Hospital.

After a series of test he was then referred to his primary physician.

"He thinks it might be pleurisy, but he is not sure. What they do know is that it is not a heart attack, stroke or blood clot," Musche said.

Because of the chest pains and the uncertainty of his condition, Musche knew his work activities on election day would be restricted.

When he returned home from the doctor's office on Monday night, Musche found on his cellphone a message from Rivers that she was sick, and he later learned she was in the hospital.

"I didn't panic. I knew everything was pretty much set up for the inspectors, and they could run the election without me. I am very pleased," he said.

There were some modifications. After the polls are closed, usually the clerk and deputy clerk will collect the vote totals, the ballots and other election equipment from the high school and fire station polling places and take them to Town Hall for final inspections and vote tallies.

This time, however, the election workers at the fire station took their vote totals and equipment to the high school, where members of the volunteer Fire Department then hauled the equipment to Town Hall.

Musche was able to help open the polls at the town hall at 7 a.m., and by 9 p.m. that night he admitted he was tired and in some pain.

"I would be fine if I could stop breathing. It only hurts when I breathe in," he said.

Rivers was scheduled to be released from the hospital Tuesday and was expected to return to work Thursday.

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