Clerks around Wisconsin from both parties have modified the state’s model ballots for the Nov. 4 elections, raising questions about both the state officials who designed the ballots and about a GOP lawsuit aimed at forcing a costly reprinting of ballots. Clerks from both parties, including at least three Democrats, have found the model ballots confusing, showing that the concerns over them aren’t limited to the Republicans who have sued over the issue. Checks by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday found that most of the state’s urban areas will be using ballots that are more clearly marked for voters than the Government Accountability Board’s model ballot. The biggest exception is in Wausau. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said Friday he had refused to use the ballot that state elections officials had recommended for this fall out of concerns that it was too confusing. Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler said she had similar concerns that the ballot put forward by the accountability board didn’t clearly distinguish for voters between the candidates on the ballot and the offices they were seeking. And La Crosse County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer said she added shading to the ballots to make them clearer. “We try to make the ballot as accessible and easy to read, and that’s why I put the shading in,” she said.
The comments by the three Democratic clerks deflate the accountability board’s claim that its new ballot is clearer and easier for voters to use. At the same time, the moves by the Democratic clerks — McDonell is one of the most liberal clerks in the state — let air out of a Republican claim that the new ballots are part of a liberal conspiracy against conservatives.
Instead, McDonell said his county is using an older version of the ballot that sets off offices from candidates with gray shading and lines rather than the “big white blob” of a ballot favored by the accountability board. Stottler said she is using the new design with no shading but added lines to it to help voters tell the difference between the offices and politicians.
Asked about the ballots, the accountability board’s director, Kevin Kennedy, issued a statement arguing he couldn’t say much because of a lawsuit over the ballots. “However, we think Dane County’s ballot looks pretty sharp,” his statement said.
Full Article: Three Democratic county clerks won’t use GAB sample ballot.