Bigger push for absentee voting just one change over the years - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Bigger push for absentee voting just one change over the years

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Eau Claire County (WQOW) - It's hard to believe, but the general election is only two weeks away. 

Since the early 1990's, Eau Claire County has used optical scan ballots on Election Day. 

"They're good machines and they are publicly tested prior to every election for accuracy," says Janet Loomis, Eau Claire County Clerk. 

Prior to that counting ballots would've had to be done by hand, a time consuming process that's still used in some counties.  Now, if the ballots aren't filled out properly the machine won't take it, alerting poll workers. 

"Because the voter puts this into the machine, if it cannot count it, it actually kicks it back to the person," says Loomis. 

Examples of what's not accepted include things like circling a candidates name rather than connecting the arrow or selecting two candidates for the same race.  

Over the last several years there have been a couple changes to elections.  They include adding touch screen voting machines, a statewide voter registration system and more absentee voting. 

"You used to need a reason for voting absentee and that opened up about four years ago for anyone unable or unwilling to go to the polling place on election day, can request an absentee ballot," says Loomis.  "It seems that organizations, parties, everyone's encouraging absentee voting." 

You can get an absentee ballot by contacting your local municipal clerk.  Those votes are added to the counters on election day and counted with the rest of the ballots. 

Loomis says she's expecting 55 to 60 percent voter turnout in Eau Claire County.  She says that's up a little bit because of open governor's seat.

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