The webinar for the Spring Election was live at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 14. The recorded webinar will available through your training portal. Remember to record that you have completed the training through your training portal.  The handout is available here.  The Chief Inspector training handout is available here

Where is the ineligible list at the polling place?
There is a copy in the black binder for processing absentees, and another copy in the voter registration table accordion folder.

If voters on the poll book have already been checked against the ineligible voter list prior to Election Day, why do we need to check the ineligible list for the name of each absentee voter?
Because state law requires us to do so.

If an absentee voter is on the ineligible list, do we reject that absentee?
No, you would go through the challenge process for that absentee.

What if a voter fills in the oval for a candidate on the ballot and writes in a non-official candidate for the same office?
The write-in takes precedence over the vote for the candidate listed on the ballot.  Although the name written in would not be tallied, a vote would be subtracted on the results tape from the candidate.

If the voter writes in Micky Mouse does that invalidate the properly marked oval for a candidate on the ballot?
Yes, the write-in for Micky Mouse takes precedence over the oval filled in for a candidate on the ballot.

Are we supposed to look at ballots for the off chance that somebody filled in the oval for a candidate but also wrote in a name?  Wouldn't that be unduly burdensome on closing poll workers?
As you straighten the ballots into an orderly pile to seal in the ballot bag, note whether there are write-ins.  Our goal is that each eligible voter will be able to cast a ballot and have that ballot counted.

If a voter is using their cell phone to show electronic proof of address when registering to vote at the polls, can I hold their phone myself to scroll and enlarge the document?
No.  We can ask the voter to zoom in, but we will not handle the voter's phone ourselves.  We do not want to spread germs or risk dropping and damaging their phone.

Will there be a reference script for the questions to ask if someone is dropping off an absentee ballot?
Yes, you will once again have a Reference Guide at the greeter station.

A witness could even have the same name as a voter, like a father and a son with the same name.

If a signature box on the poll book does not have an "Absentee" watermark, is it sufficient to just note the voter slip number follower by the letter A next to the voter's name?
Yes, that is the proper way to note that someone voted absentee.

When verifying a voter's identity by checking their ID card, do we need to check the expiration date on the ID card?
Yes, you are checking that the ID is an acceptable type of voter ID, that voter's name reasonably conforms to the name on the poll book, that the photo on the ID reasonably resembles the voter, and that the expiration date is okay for that type of ID.

A two-minute review can be helpful as you move from one task to another at the polls.
Each station should have a Quick Guide you can use to review the steps for each task.  You also can watch a short video on the ExpressVote, the signage kiosk, voting booth set-up, the feather flag, opening the tabulator, clearing a ballot jam, the greeter table, the poll book table, the registration table, and closing the tabulator.

If an absentee voter selects two candidates in a contest where they can only vote for one candidate, does the ballot need to be remade, or will the tabulator know to skip that contest?
The tabulator will notify you that there is an over-vote.  Our policy is to remake those absentee ballots for every office for which you can determine voter intent.

Is it okay to split up the steps of absentee ballot processing between different people, or does one person need to retain chain-of-custody from poll book to tabulator?
It is okay to split up tasks.  You just want to make sure you are working together as a team and keeping the process transparent for any observers.

If a voter walks in with their absentee and asks us to be their witness, are we allowed to do so?
Yes, you may be an absentee witness if you witness the entire process -- voter starts with a blank ballot, marks their ballot, and seals their ballot in the envelope.  However, with the voter being at the polling place they might as well vote at the polls instead.

What was the court ruling that had to do with returning absentee ballots?
There were multiple court rulings.  You can read the Wisconsin Elections Commission's summary here.

Does the UW-Madison Voter Identification card need to be printed?
Yes, it does.

If an absentee witness provides a street address, lists Dane as the municipality, and provides their zip code, is that a complete address?  Even if they wrote down the name of the county as their municipality?
Yes, that is a complete address.  Our City Attorney had us check with the Post Office to verify that they could locate such an address, even in cases where someone confuses the name of their county with the name of their city.  The zip code indicates the city.

Where can we find the explanatory statements for referenda questions?
On Election Day, they will be in your red signage accordion folder, to be posted at the polls.  The explanatory statements are also posted on our website, here.

What do we do if we hear other poll workers making fun of, or laughing at, voter names?
Immediately notify the Chief Inspector.  Such behavior is unacceptable, disrespectful of our voters, and cause for termination.

Just to confirm, are we to try having the second Election Day Registration official seated at the ballot table in order to also be one of the officials initialing ballots?
Yes, please give that a try.

Please clarify how to proceed regarding over-voting on absentee ballots.  If the tabulator notifies us of an over-vote but intent cannot be determined, can we simply re-feed the ballot and tell the tabulator to accept the ballot with over-votes?
No, we would still remake the ballot for every office but the over-voted office.  That way we can be certain that the tabulator isn't also detecting a stray mark in another contest.

During the April election training, you mentioned that the Elections Commission wants us to do both sets of ballot initials in front of the voter, meaning two people must be at the ballot table.  You suggested that we have the second official for new registrations sit at the ballot table.  Could you please clarify where we want to have the second official for new voter registrations?
Please have the second official for new voter registrations seated at the ballot table.  They will provide one set of poll worker initials on each ballot, verify that new registration forms are complete, check voter ID for new voter registrations, and complete the new registration poll list.

How problematic is it to have one person pre-initial a small number of ballots ahead of time?
It would be problematic because we would not be following guidance from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

I understand that we cannot explain referenda questions, but can we explain the difference between a Constitutional Amendment (or a Charter Ordinance amendment) and an advisory referendum?  I can see someone being unclear about the effect of voting or not voting for one or the other which seems to me different from understanding the referendum itself.
We cannot engage in any discussion about referenda questions or about the offices and candidates on the ballot.  Even when trying to remain impartial, it coudl be perceived as electioneering.

Why go through the process of remaking an over-voted absentee ballot if the voter intent is not clear?  The process takes a fair amount of time, and the tabulator is capable of accepting the ballot and not counting the over-voted office.
We take the time to remake the over-voted ballot for every office but the over-voted office because we want to be certain that all other votes on the ballot are counted.  We do not want to take a chance that the tabulator is picking up a stray mark that it sees as a second over-vote in another office.

Are there any accommodations available for eligible voters who are unable to read and comprehend written English?
Yes, there are.  If the voter speaks Spanish, they may use the Spanish translation available on the ExpressVote and the DS200 tabulator.  Many polling places have poll workers who are fluent in Spanish.  We can reach an interpreter for any language via phone, using the translation line information on the front of the greeter table accordion folder.  The voter could have someone of their choice assist them in marking the ballot, as long as that person is not their employer or union representative.

Is counting the empty absentee certificate envelopes sufficient for determining the number of absentees we have processed for each ward?  Do we also need to count the number of absentee notations in the poll book?
Yes, counting the empty absentee certificate envelopes is sufficient on election night.  The absentee notations on the poll book would be counted at a recount.

It was mentioned in the training that we should not be writing "Absentee" in the signature box on the poll book.  If someone requested an absentee ballot but decides to vote at the polls instead of returning their absentee ballot, are we allowed to have them sign over the word "Absentee" in the signature box?
Yes, in this situation the voter would sign their name over the Absentee watermark in their signature box on the poll book.

Is it possible to remove the voted ballots from the tabulator cart while the results tapes are being printed?
It is possible but, to provide observers with an opportunity to watch both the process of printing and announcing the results, and what happens to the ballots afterward, it is best the wait until the results have been announced and the tabulator is shut down.  We are aiming for the transparency.

Are there age requirements for a witness signature on an absentee envelope?
The witness is certifying that they are an adult U.S. citizen. Overseas voters may use a witness who is not a U.S. citizen.

Can we get a list of turnout by ward for the Spring Primary?
Here you go:  Turnout by Ward

Can we put copies of the Explanation of a Yes or No Vote in the voting booths?
No, the Explanatory Statement for each referenda question is posted outside of the voting booths.

Does the second Election Day Registration official review the voter's Proof of Address?
No.  The first registration official reviews and documents proof of address.  The second registration official provides another check that the form is complete, checks voter ID, and completes the poll list for new registrants.

Can voters only write in the name of a registered write-in candidate?
Voters may write-in anyone they want, but state law has us tally write-in votes in only specific situations.  1. We tally the write-in votes for registered write-in candidates.  2. We tally all write-ins for offices with fewer candidates than there are positions to fill for that office (example: one candidate on ballot for an office that says Vote for Two).  3.  We tally all write-in votes for an office if a candidate listed on the ballot for that office has passed away.

Additionally, if a voter writes in the name of a candidate already listed on the ballot for that office, we adjust the results tape accordingly and note this on the Inspectors' Statement.

Remember to double-check that all legal notices are posted at your polling place.
Yes, there are a lot of legal notices to post for this election:

  • List of all polling locations in the City of Madison (Type D Notice)
  • Sample ballot notice (Type B Notice), accompanied by two sample ballots for each ballot style at your polling location
  • Notice of Referenda and Explanatory Statement for state referenda questions
  • Notice of Referenda and Explanatory Statement for county referenda questions
  • Notice of Referendum and Explanatory Statement for city referendum (Type C Notice)


Where do Chief Inspectors list the amount of time they spent contacting their election officials?
Please list this time in the notes section by your name on the payroll sheet.

Is it okay if a witness signed their name and listed their address on the same line of an absentee certificate envelope?
Yes, that is acceptable.

Is the observer sign-in sheet a public document?
It is not a public document on Election Day.  Some Chief Inspectors have found it helpful to have observers sign in beginning with the bottom line on the form because that makes it easier to cover up completed rows on the form as new observers check in.

Should we be checking the Ineligible List against the poll book?
No.  That has already been done in the state voter registration system.  We check the names of Election Day Registrations and the name of absentee voters against the ineligible list.

I question the language for the poll worker to question why the voter has another person (not the voter) dropping off the ballot.  The suggested language seems restrictive and narrow.  
This language comes straight from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, in response to legal proceedings regarding the return of absentee ballots.  We need to follow the script provided by the state.

I just want to clarify that curbside voting is still legal.
Yes, curbside voting is always an option, statewide, for voters unable to enter the polling place due to a disability.

How much do you want voters using the ExpressVote?  Most people vote by paper and pen.
All of our in-person absentee voters use the ExpressVote.  The ExpressVote needs to be set up and available at every polling place.  We want the voters to know that it is an option, but whether a voter wants to mark their ballot using the ExpressVote or using a pen is completely up to the voter.

In terms of the script we use when someone is attempting to drop off someone else's absentee ballot, are we required to use the word "disability?"  That word is kind of loaded.
Yes, that is the exact language approved by the Wisconsin Elections Commission in response to legal proceedings regarding the return of absentee ballots.

If an absentee voter has someone else return their absentee ballot, does their disability need to be a permanent, long-term, federally recognized disability?
No.  Whether the voter needs assistance returning their ballot due to a disability is something only the voter can determine for themselves.

If someone comes to the polling place with two absentee ballots and says the other voter is in the car, should the poll worker go out and confirm that they are present and wanting to drop off their absentee ballot?
Yes, the poll worker should meet the voter at the curb of the polling place so that voter can deliver their own ballot, unless the voter had determined that they needed assistance returning their absentee ballot due to a disability.

On Election Day, can absentee ballots be dropped off anywhere besides the voter's own polling place?
The voter can drop off their absentee ballot at the City Clerk's Office on Election Day as long as the Clerk's Office has time to deliver it to the polling place before 8 p.m.

Can't we have one poll worker pre-initial ballots?
No, the Wisconsin Elections Commission would like that practice to stop.

If someone votes absentee, wouldn't their voter registration have already been checked against the Ineligible List?
Yes, voter registrations statewide are checked against the Ineligible List every month.  Additionally, state law requires that registrations within 20 days of an election, Election Day voter registrations, and absentees be checked against the Ineligible List.

If a new registrant is in a ward with multiple school districts, what is the process for verifying that they will receive the correct ballot?
Your ward-specific street directory will indicate whether the voter's address range is in a school district other than the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Is it correct that a new registrant hands their voter registration form to the second registration official?
Yes, that is correct.

Who issues the voter slip to the new registrant?
The second registration official checks the form for completeness, checks voter ID, completes the new registration poll list, and issues the voter slip.