Ballot misprints quickly corrected by clerks ahead of April 5 election

BOSCOBEL, Wis. — Elections officials say Wisconsin’s April 5 election will remain unaffected amid a handful of cases in which absentee ballots were sent out with incorrect information and needed to be reissued.

The municipal clerk of Boscobel, who runs elections for the city, said two candidates appearing on the ballot had their districts flipped — an error stemming from incorrect information that was a holdover from the redistricting process. She said she was able to contact the 32 voters impacted by the misprint quickly.

The issue was discovered last Friday, and the corrected ballots were printed and mailed in a matter of days.

RELATED: Corrected ballots en route to Boscobel voters impacted by ballot misprints, city says

“We decided just to make sure that we communicated with the post office and could get the ballots to people either Tuesday or Wednesday, whether we overnighted them or had them locally delivered,” said Misty Molzof, Boscobel’s city clerk.

She said voters will still have enough time to return the ballots ahead of next Tuesday, the deadline by which absentee ballots must be returned.

A similar issue in Milwaukee was caught even earlier. Milwaukee County Elections Director Julietta Henry said a voter called the city after they noticed their ballot was mislabeled — in this case, a ballot contained an additional, erroneous race. She said this impacted about 400 voters in Milwaukee, and the city and the county worked to get corrected ballots issued quickly.

“They corrected it by reprinting all of the absentee ballots,” she said. “Those absentee electors are sent a new ballot with the explanation as to what occurred and then they also reprinted the ballots for election day.”

Both officials said the current climate has been tough for local officials, who are ever under scrutiny for their administering of elections. Wisconsin has one of the most decentralized election processes in the country, with each municipal clerk for the state’s more than 1,800 cities, towns and villages running every election.

“This was a human error that was made,” said Henry. “As soon as it was brought to our attention, it was corrected.”

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the integrity of the election,” she added.

According to Molzof, misprints on ballots like those affecting Milwaukee and Boscobel will be easy to spot by poll workers. She has taken an extra step as well, instructing voting machines in Boscobel to not accept a ballot that is misprinted.

“You have your chief election inspector who’s checking in the absentee ballots, you have your other poll workers there that are checking over, and then your machine says: ‘hey, you guys missed this but I’m not going to,'” Molzof said.