Middleton Town Clerk: ‘A few’ absentee ballots sent with clerk’s error will still count

Absentee Ballot

TOWN OF MIDDLETON, Wis. — A clerical mistake on absentee ballots that went out to some voters in Dane County will not affect their validity.

Middleton Town Clerk Barb Roesslein confirmed to News 3 Now her deputy clerk accidentally initialed the wrong line on “a few” ballots before they went out to voters in mid September.  Roesslein did not have an exact number of how many ballots featured the mistake.

“My poor deputy, she was pretty upset when she realized, but we are only human,” Roesslein said.

The deputy clerk contacted the Wisconsin Elections Commission immediately when she discovered the issue, Roesslein said.

Reid Magney with the Wisconsin Elections Commission confirmed with News 3 Now the ballots will still count, calling the clerk’s initial line an “administrative thing” that won’t impact a ballot.  Magney said a voter would only need to worry if there were no initials on the ballot to begin with.

“It was just a fluke.  We were so busy, we wanted to get these out,” Roesslein said.  “It wasn’t done intentionally or anything.

Roesslein says about a dozen voters have contacted her office asking about the mistake.  She explained the ballots will still count if they’re submitted with the clerk’s signature in the wrong spot.  An elections inspector will note the error on Election Day and proceed to count the ballot.

However, voters can also request a new ballot or “spoil” one they’ve already submitted.  The deadline to request a mailed absentee ballot is Thursday, Oct. 29 at 5 p.m.

The town has sent out 2,672 ballots as of 10 a.m. Thursday. Of those, 1,321 have been returned.  About 5,000 registered voters live within town limits.

Roesslein says she regrets the error and stressed voters should ensure they, too, complete their ballots accurately before submitting.

“We have more issues with people forgetting to have a witness [sign the envelope],” Roesslein said.  “It’s been pretty much non-stop working on election.”