For poll worker Larry Nelson, Election Day’s most irritating hour — or hours — arrives after the polls close, when the write-in votes are counted. “Here you are, on your feet after working 14 hours, and now you have to sort through the ballots looking for Mickey Mouse,” he explains. “It’s quite a bit of work for something that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Hopefully we can get the law changed before the next election.” Consider it done. On April 2, the day after this year’s spring election, Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a bill lifting the requirement that all write-in votes must be counted.
Under the new law, only votes for registered write-in candidates, and write-in votes in races absent a certified candidate on the ballot, will be counted.
To be considered a registered write-in candidate, a special form must be submitted with the appropriate clerk’s office prior to the election.
City of Madison Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl estimates the change will shave 30 to 45 minutes from poll workers’ workday, although it ultimately depends on the number of uncontested races on the ballot.