Northwoods clerks fight against added election in 2020Submitted: 11/27/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Northwoods clerks fight against added election in 2020
NORTHWOODS - This month, Wisconsin Republicans floated the idea of putting elections in February, March, and April of 2020.

The plan would separate Wisconsin's 2020 presidential primary from the April general election. Some Republicans hope it would give a conservative-leaning Supreme Court candidate a better shot in the April election.

But county clerks in the state were quick to criticize the proposal.

Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe was one of them.

"[It's] overwhelming at times, the amount of work," he said. "We're already preparing for April, February."

Marlowe and 33 other county clerks signed a letter opposing the idea of a new March election.

"It concerns me that they would throw another election between February and April because they're certainly going to overlap," he said.

Earlier this month, outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker sounded open to making the change.

"I always thought it was odd that those of us who were in nonpartisan office were on the ballot at the same time as partisan elections," Walker, who once served as Milwaukee County executive, said.

Oneida County Clerk Tracy Hartman couldn't believe some people were taking the idea seriously. Hartman worries about the tight turnaround and the extra money a new election would cost. She thinks it might even lead to some mistakes.

"People are going to be speeding things up. They're going to be reading through stuff quicker. They're going to be trying to get it out and back again. I think you're just asking for some human error to occur," Hartman said. "I don't know that I've had a single county clerk say they're for this. I think we're all very concerned with the expense, with the added time crunch, the added pressure that's being put on these clerks."

Hartman, like Marlowe, hopes the idea dies, and 2020 has just four elections: two in the spring, and two in the fall.

"Five is just too many," Marlowe said.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, state Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald said he had concerns about a new election, but he refused to rule it out.

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