Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 17:07
Town finding someone who can coordinate elections is ‘imperative,’ letter says
The sudden vacancy in the Town of Saukville clerk’s position has drawn the concerned attention of officials in the Ozaukee County courthouse and Madison.
County Clerk Julie Winkelhorst told the Town Board on Tuesday she is concerned that the lack of someone in the town clerk’s position has the potential of playing havoc with the upcoming fall elections.
The vacancy was created when Susan Churchill resigned as town clerk, effective last Friday.
Churchill cited a growing workload and lack of office support.
Noting that void, Winkelhorst said it is critical the town have someone in place to process absentee ballots and preside over the upcoming Aug. 12 primary election.
Her concerns were echoed in a two-page letter she presented from Michael Haas, election division administrator with the state’s Government Accountability Board.
“While we understand the town clerk is responsible for many different township tasks, as the agency charged with administering and enforcing Wisconsin’s election laws, we are most concerned with the immediate issue of the town being able to properly administer the fall election,” Haas wrote.
He noted that the clerk is responsible for processing voter registration and absentee ballots, publishing legal notices for the upcoming election, conducting training for election inspectors, setting up polls on election day and ensuring the completion of the canvass of ballots.
“It is imperative that the town act as quickly as possible to appoint a town clerk or acting town clerk,” Haas said.
Town Chairman Don Hamm said he has several potential candidates for the position, and expects to make an appointment soon.
“We will have a clerk as soon as possible, hopefully in the next week or two,” Hamm said.
Alternatively, Winkelhorst suggested the town contact a retired municipal clerk or a clerk from a neighboring community who could offer assistance with the upcoming election.
However, she said her office is not equipped to provide the needed help, especially on election day.
“I am just here to hurry you along,” Winkelhorst said.
The Town Board did approve the appointment of two new chief election inspectors, Darryl Habeck and Christopher Ford.