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G.A.B. Provides $500,000 to Clerks for Improving Elections

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Date: 
March 11, 2009

MADISON, WI – The Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) is providing funds to Wisconsin counties and municipalities to improve the reporting of election data and results, the G.A.B. announced Wednesday.

More than $500,000 will be distributed to local election officials for gathering, reporting and inputting election data into a new statewide reporting system. The payments are being made to local governments per “reporting unit” – usually the municipal ward.

“This is a change that will improve the speed and reliability of election results in Wisconsin,” said Kevin Kennedy, G.A.B. Director. “But it is also another change for local clerks to get used to, so we are happy to provide financial assistance.”

Checks are now being sent to municipal clerks for reporting the November 4, 2008 election results in a new format. After the April 7 Spring Election, funds will also be sent to county clerks, many of whom will enter data into a new online reporting system.

The Elections Division of the G.A.B. was one of five states to receive a U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) grant in May of last year, designed to improve the reporting of election results across the nation. The EAC awarded $2 million to Wisconsin.

The EAC funds are being used in Wisconsin to improve election business practices, such as standardizing the reporting of the official election canvass, enhancing the capacity of absentee voter tracking in the Statewide Voter Registration System, creating new online classes for clerks to make training more convenient, and analyzing polling place practices to improve voters’ Election Day experience.

The EAC has developed a lengthy survey regarding election activity, and the G.A.B. has committed to providing answers about every municipality in Wisconsin.

“Elections Division staff recently reviewed the new reporting system with the Wisconsin County Clerks Association,” said Elections Division Administrator Nat Robinson. “They praised the system and are enthusiastic about what it will do for Wisconsin.”

The April 7 Spring Election in Wisconsin will serve as the pilot-run for the state’s new system and the progress of that system will be reviewed tomorrow by a federal evaluator.

“We are pleased to report our progress to the federal government and looking forward to feedback for improvement of the new data reporting system before it is tested in April,” said Nat Robinson, Elections Division Administrator.

The evaluator – Dr. Diana Davis of ICF International in Fairfax, Virginia – will spend Thursday with a group of Wisconsin county and municipal clerks and Elections Division staff reviewing the new system and the requirements local election official will follow in submitting election results.

“We believe the finished product will not only improve the speed and reliability of election results in Wisconsin,” Robinson said. “This model will also be available to other states with extremely decentralized election administration like Wisconsin.”

For more information, contact: 

Reid Magney, public information officer, 608-267-7887