WEC Newsletter Volume III, Issue V

This is older content that may possibly be out of date at this time.

Successfully Navigating an Election Crisis

Dane and Green County Sheriff's departments responded to an incident outside of the Village of Brooklyn Community Building. Image courtesy of WKOW

Tips and tactics from the Village of Brooklyn Clerk

Village of Brooklyn Clerk-Treasurer Linda Kuhlman now knows first-hand how quickly an emergency can strike on Election Day.

Village of Brooklyn Clerk-Treasurer Linda Kuhlman. Photo courtesy of the Village of Brooklyn
Village of Brooklyn Clerk-Treasurer Linda Kuhlman. Photo courtesy of the Village of Brooklyn

The recent Spring Election was her team’s first election using Badger Books, and Kuhlman figured the February 21 Spring Primary would likely be relaxed and a good time to implement the popular electronic poll book. Her hopes were dashed.

Less than two hours after polls opened, the most serious crisis in her seven-plus year tenure with the clerk’s office transpired in a matter of minutes.

“I was sitting in my office and saw a police car go the wrong way on our drive-through here with lights on, and somebody called and told me they were blocking off the streets,” Kuhlman said.

She went out to investigate, and quickly learned there had been nearby gunfire unrelated to the Spring Primary. A large contingency of law enforcement was outside locking down the area and setting up a dragnet.

Clerk Kuhlman quickly called Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell who advised her that this was an appropriate moment to implement the village’s Election Day Emergency Response Plan. The written document had been drawn up based on a Wisconsin Elections Commission template after the WEC recommended that municipalities establish such plans a couple of years ago.

Step one was the decision to move the village’s polling place to another location. McDonell handled emergency communications with the public and media, alerting them to the fluid situation and the new polling place location. The WEC also updated the polling location on its MyVote site. Kuhlman called the village’s public works staff because the Public Works building is the designated backup poll location. “We didn’t hesitate, and said we were coming down,” recalled Kuhlman.

Public Works dispatched trucks to the village’s normal polling place at the Community Building. Voting equipment and other polling place materials were loaded up. Poll workers accompanied ballots and equipment carefully observing the chain of custody requirements.

The new polling location was operational within 45 minutes. Kuhlman’s next move was to work with the village attorney to petition for an extension of voting hours to make up for the lost time. Like the Election Day Emergency Response Plan template, the process is explained in the Municipal Clerk Training section of the WEC website – also where templates for court documents to extend polling hours can be found. Kuhlman said the forms were new for her and the village attorney, and it took time to complete the task.

They learned the completed documents must be hand-delivered to a judge who was in court at the time. In the end, the petition to extend hours was granted and the Public Works polling location then stayed open until 9:30 p.m.

All in all, Kuhlman thought everything went smoothly considering the circumstances. And it turns out the day’s original concern, navigating Badger Books for the first time, also went well.

“We got good feedback from the voters, everybody seemed to be in good spirits who came down to the new place to vote. Nobody complained about not being able to find it,” said Kuhlman.

She had posted a notice and phone number back at the Community Building before it was vacated, and a couple of people did call asking for directions to the Public Works building. Most knew its location or used GPS.

“We did have 10 to 12 people who came after the (normal) time to vote,” Kuhlman said. “And I know a couple of them had commented on the fact that they were going to vote earlier, and saw all the police vehicles so that they didn’t. And so, they were happy that we did extend the time for them.”

Thanks to the efforts of Kuhlman, McDonell, and the teams supporting them, the Election Day Emergency Response Plan worked.

Having lived through it, Kuhlman offers the following advice to her municipal clerk colleagues:

  • Have a written Election Day Emergency Response Plan.
  • Walk through it with your county clerk, your municipal attorney, and your election inspectors.
  • Confirm in advance how external communications will be handled in a crisis to keep the public and media apprised. If the county clerk does not take on this role, you will need a media contact list.
  • Be familiar with all forms (such as those for extension of polling hours). Consider filling out some portions of the forms in advance, if possible.
  • Kuhlman gave high praise to Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell for his actions and preparedness.

The WEC sends kudos to Kuhlman, McDonell, and their teams for professionally and skillfully preparing and executing their plan.

Find the Election Day Emergency Response Plan Toolkit on The Learning Center

MyVote wisconsin logo

Review your In-Person Absentee Voting (IPAV) Locations and Hours!

In-Person Absentee Voting can start on March 21, 2023. Voters can review your municipality’s IPAV locations and times on MyVote. Having updated times and locations helps them plan how they vote. Posting this information on MyVote can cut down on questions about when and where electors can vote.

To review and update your listed IPAV hours and locations, please visit the Election Plans tile in WisVote, select Spring Election (Odd), and update the information listed in the “Absentee Information” section.

If you have questions about reviewing or updating your IPAV information, contact the HelpDesk at @email or 608-261-2028.

Mall of America, Minneapolis, Min., August 1993. Photo by Arthur Chapman via Creative Commons
WEC Voting Info, expansive as the Mall of America. Pictured in August 1993. Photo by Arthur Chapman via Creative Commons

Find what you need on our website:


The “Voters” tab is a one-stop shop for anyone with questions about how, where, and when to vote. You can find it at elections.wi.gov/voters. And to stretch the analogy a bit, if our Voters tab were a mall, it would be the Mall of America.

For starters, there is a giant link on the Voters page to MyVote, which walks voters through everything they need, from finding their polling place to tracking their ballot and voting history. And plenty more.

Visitors to our Voters page will also find links regarding registration, military and overseas voting, photo ID requirements, absentee voting, and more. There is also a link to lots of information about accessible voting options, including on Election Day, for voters with a disability.

Also, look for a link to our Elections 101 video series that offers four short videos breaking down the process of elections administration in Wisconsin. Pro tip: bookmark the Voters tab and use it often.

Mobile phone with checkmark in text box

Social media resources for clerks

For the Spring Election, WEC has assembled a package of social media posts and accompanying imagery for clerks and guidance on suggested timing for their release.

The materials are available as a downloadable ZIP file at the top of this page.

Clerks are encouraged to download the ZIP file, extract it into a folder, and use the information and images for social media posts.

Bucky Badger didn't know how to use a Dymo printer, so he went to WisVote FAQs to learn how.
Bucky Badger didn't know how to use a Dymo printer, so he went to WisVote FAQs to learn how.

Troubleshooting Dymo printing

Each Dymo seems to work somewhat differently and solutions for encountered issues that work for some, are not the fix for others. The setup may involve trial and error. Search the FAQ section in WisVote to find guides on Directly Printing to a Dymo Printer and Issuing Absentee Ballots as a Batch

Upcoming Dates & Deadlines 

March 13, 2023

  • Deadline for county clerks and school district clerks to deliver ballots to municipal clerks for the Spring Election.
  • First day for special voting deputies to conduct absentee voting for residents in nursing homes and authorized care facilities for the Spring Election.

March 14, 2023

  • Deadline for municipal clerks to send absentee ballots to electors with valid requests on file for the Spring Election.
  • Webinar: WisVote Data Quality: A Journey, not a Destination

March 15, 2023

  • Deadline (11:59 p.m.) for electors to register to vote by mail or online in the Spring Election.

March 16, 2023

  • First day to issue a certificate of registration (EL-133) to late registrants

March 21, 2023

  • Start of in-person absentee voting (IPAV)

March 23, 2023

  • Deadline for municipal clerks to submit voter participation, Inspectors’ Statement data, and Election Reconciliation data for the Spring Primary via WisVote.

Upcoming Elections

  • April 4, 2023 - Spring Election

Upcoming Commission Meetings

  • April 28, 2023 - April 2023 Meeting

Countdown to the April 4 Spring Election: