Janesville prepares for large absentee ballot count

Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 9:40 PM CST
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - The city of Janesville is preparing its poll workers for Election Day.

City officials say it comes down to organization and planning to ensure a safe and accurate election for voters and poll workers.

More than 56% of Janesville voters have already cast a ballot early either in person or by mail. That adds up to twice the average number of absentee ballots returned during a Presidential Election.

“We’ve issued almost 22,000 absentee ballots and almost 20,000 of those have been returned,” Janesville City Clerk Treasurer Dave Godek said.

Due to those high numbers, additional poll workers are joining the team to sort out the votes.

“Normally we’d have about 23 people who work there, and get everything done, what we’re doing for this election, we have about 118 people scheduled to work central count,” Godek said.

Godek explained that most of those workers will stay for an 8-hour shift to stay fresh.

“That way, fatigue leads to errors, not on purpose, but people get tired and then they make mistakes. So, we have enough people that we’re able to do that and not worry about it, so we’re trying to avoid errors that way,” Godek said.

All those ballots will be accounted for a central location. This year the sorting will take place at Saint Patrick’s Parish in Janesville. This election cycle, Diane Quade is the leader for that space.

“Right now, I’ve been moved to the absentees and I’m in charge of all that,” Quade said. “I’m positive it’ll work, it may not be as fast as they want it to be, but it’ll be efficient, and it’ll be done correctly.”

Election officials say the ballots will be separated by ward, alphabetized, opened, fed through the machine and tallied. Godek said at least two people will be assigned to each task.

“People should really feel secure about what’s going on, we conduct elections all the time, this is what we do,” Godek said.

As far as health precautions, Godek said Janesville polling locations will follow all COVID-19 guidelines, and the city will supply all poll workers with N-95 masks.

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