Dane County Clerk won't use redesigned ballots - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Dane County Clerk won't use new state ballots, says they are too confusing

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County Clerk is not using the newly redesigned state ballots that are now the subject of a lawsuit Republican lawmakers filed against the Government Accountability Board earlier this week.

"I looked at the new GAB version, I looked at the versions that had been used for many elections in a row, and I just thought the older version was easier to read," said Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, who says he made his decision well before the GOP filed its lawsuit.

McDonell said he didn't see the need for a ballot redesign and believes he is well within the law to use the old ballots.

"When I looked at the statute it said 'GAB Board can determine the parameters of the ballot.'  But, you know, the GAB Board - I go to those meetings - they never took this issue up," said McDonell.

Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler (D) will use the new ballot, but added a line on it between the name of the office and the name of the first candidate listed.

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said earlier this week he made the decision to use the new ballots after consulting with staff. 

The lack of GAB Board approval is one of the issues Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) brought up in their lawsuit filed in Waukesha County.   They also believe the lack of a line or shading between the office and the first candidate is biased, because the first candidate listed in each race this year will be a Democrat.  The lawsuit seeks to have the courts order the GAB to use the old ballot design McDonell is using.

But McDonell makes it clear he does not think the redesign is worthy of a lawsuit.

"I don't think clerks need to be reprinting ballots this close to an election.  Ballots have already gone out by statute for absentee," said McDonell.

The GAB seems unlikely to challenge what the McDonell and others are doing, sending a statement to 27 News that reads: "Because we are in litigation, we are limited in what we can say.  However, we think Dane County's ballot looks pretty sharp."
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