Brown County Browser: Wrapping up the 2018 election process

The A-T office is in the final stages of completing all the required steps for the 2018 mid-term election! It truly has been a year filled with challenges as we introduced new election equipment, new election software, consolidated polling locations, had five of our townships/cities opt to vote by mail and the introduction of poll pad rosters in our larger city precincts.

As we quickly discovered … challenges are an opportunity to grow. The Auditor-Treasurer’s staff was instrumental in completing the multitude of tasks that they were faced with during this election cycle.

As we reflect on the election process, we can note many successes, but as with anything, these successes at times are overshadowed by some of the hiccups that we encountered. I feel the need to apologize to the voters and the candidates who had to wait late into the night for the results. Due to perception, I made a judgement call that ended up costing us many hours of stress here at the office.

Election law allows the A-T office to begin processing absentee and mail ballots seven days prior to the election. Because county offices were included on this ballot, I felt it was prudent to not begin vote tabulation prior to Election Day. The ballot counter, under optimal conditions, can process 70 ballots a minute. Based on the number of ballots we had in hand we would require one hour to process.

But there were factors that I did not consider that cost us a major loss in time. We have documented the issues and will be making the necessary adjustments for the 2020 election.

One of the major successes of this election was in voter turnout. Seventy-nine percent of the registered voters cast a ballot in the 2018 mid-term elections. This is well above the statewide average of 63.82 percent. We had one of our mail ballot precincts that actually had 88 percent of the voters cast a ballot.

A total of 1,678 voters opted to use the absentee voting method with the majority using the direct balloting method where the ballot is inserted directly into the vote tabulator. It becomes increasingly evident that voters appreciate the variety of allowable options to cast their ballot.

Concerns over polling locations will be addressed prior to the 2020 election as well.

The Post-Election Review is a hand count of the ballots from two different precincts that were selected by lottery at the Canvass board. The hand count, conducted on Nov. 20, validated the results submitted on election night. This is an assurance to all of us that votes are tabulated based on voter intent. Results may not have come as quickly as we would have anticipated but they certainly were accurate and that is the ultimate goal.

As a final note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the voters who expressed their confidence in my ability to continue serving as your Auditor-Treasurer. I am humbled, and promise to continue to serve the people of Brown County with honesty, integrity and transparency while always maintaining a vision for the future. Happy Holidays from the Auditor-Treasurer’s staff at Brown County!