By Shereen Siewert
Certified results of the April 5 spring election, conducted April 11 and 12, resulted in no major changes to the vote count and no irregularities were reported in the canvass process, Marathon County Clerk Kim Trueblood said.
“I’m pleased to report the spring election in Marathon County was conducted in accordance with Wisconsin Election Laws,” Trueblood said. “Thank you to our
municipal clerks, poll workers, and other volunteers for their efforts in ensuring this election was conducted with the highest integrity.”
Last week, the Republican Party of Marathon County alleged “several potential voting irregularities” in the election in Wausau, prompting a request for records and data from the city and county clerks.
Marathon County GOP Chair Jack Hoogendyk sent a formal request Friday to Trueblood and to City Clerk Kaitlyn Bernarde asking for several records related to the allegations. In a statement, Hoogendyk said “several individuals, including election inspectors, observers, candidates and voters” have reported potential irregularities and said the information is being requested to “clear up any questions regarding the integrity of the vote in Wausau.” Among other data, Hoogendyk is seeking information specific to Wards 3, 5 and 7 including the number of registered electors in those districts and records of procedure for merging vote tabulations.
Unclear is why election inspectors and observers waited until three days after the election to voice their concerns. Under state law, election inspectors are required to report all potential irregularities at the time they are observed. Failing to report observed irregularities at the time they are observed is a felony in Wisconsin.
City records show Hoogendyk himself was listed as a poll worker during the election. As of Thursday, he has not responded to an inquiry asking him for more information about the potential irregularities alleged and which location he worked in on April 5. Bernarde has also failed to respond to an email asking for additional information.
On Friday, Clerk Trueblood told Wausau Pilot & Review she would address Hoogendyk’s requests after the canvass was complete and the election results were finalized. Today, she said Hoogendyk’s request is being reviewed by Corporation Counsel.
Trueblood said vote verification efforts resulted in three minor corrections, which is typical of the canvass process.
“The canvass is a public and transparent process designed to resolve discrepancies and ensure every valid ballot cast is counted before the results are certified,” Trueblood said. “It’s really a means of double checking our work to ensure the highest level of accuracy possible. People are welcome to come and observe the process.”
So far, no Marathon County Board candidates have petitioned for a recount, though a recount in Kronenwetter was recently conducted and a Wausau City Council candidate submitted a petition this week. Petitions can only be filed after a canvass is complete.