The Wisconsin election on April 7 demonstrated the chaos that can ensue when decision makers are not prepared for unexpected challenges.
Many of these problems were closely related to the challenges of administering an election during a global pandemic. However, much of what we saw was a consequence of our state’s long history of devising needless and discriminatory barriers to the ballot that disproportionately impact traditionally marginalized communities. While statewide action confronting these issues would be ideal, a strategic local approach may be the most viable avenue for change.
1,850 municipal clerks are charged with ensuring that the election runs smoothly this November. They oversee voter registration, recruiting and training poll workers, polling place operation, purchasing voting machines, distributing absentee ballots, and managing vote counting, along with a few other duties on and after Election Day.
Given the barriers that voters could face this fall, and given that municipal clerks have many of the tools needed to mitigate those barriers, advocacy at the municipal level is critical to ensuring free, fair, and accessible elections. If you would like to get involved, we encourage you to refer to our Municipal Clerk Toolkit, a step-by-step guide designed to help you push your local clerk to make the changes we need ahead of the election. The toolkit offers insight on a range of strategies, from setting up meetings, to garnering press coverage and organizing social media actions, and much more.
Access and download the toolkit here.
This toolkit was published by the American Civil Liberties Union - Wisconsin Chapter, and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin contributed to it as a partner in the Wisconsin Voting Rights Coalition.