All valid ballots in Dane County were processed and counted on Election Day, despite some students still awaiting confirmation that their absentee ballots were received from the MyVote Wisconsin ballot-tracking website.
According to Wisconsin Certified Municipal Clerk Jennifer Haar, the site, which provides absentee voters with updates as their ballots move through the process of being counted, does not update automatically when votes are received.
“The process of recording voter participation (what you see on MyVote) involves our office going through each poll book page-by-page, and manually scanning each participation,” Haar said. “This takes several weeks, and sometimes months for larger elections. These voters can check back in a few weeks to see if we’ve gotten to their participation yet.”
On Election Day, election workers counted and processed all ballots, Haar said.
One voter, UW-Madison sophomore Emma Dahl, was concerned that after going through the process of registering in a different state, getting a voter ID, requesting an absentee ballot and eventually returning that ballot in person at a polling location, that her vote may not have been counted.
“The process of registering to vote, getting an absentee ballot was extremely difficult, which was frustrating in and of itself to not have an easy way to vote,” Dahl said. “I had a witness, I did everything correctly, I listened to all the directions and then through tracking my ballot online, it does not confirm that I have voted or that they have received my ballot, and I think that’s frustrating because, as a student who is trying to educate themselves on how to participate in government, I spent several days trying to make sure that my vote was counted, and now I am not even sure if it was.”
But as long as Dahl’s and any other absentee ballots were received by the clerk’s office on or before Election Day, those votes were counted, Haar said. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 26 that absentee ballots received after polls closed on Tuesday could not be counted.
According to Wisconsin state law, local election officials have up to 45 days to enter participation and confirmation records confirming that a voter’s ballot was received. 45 days from the Nov. 3 Election Day is Saturday, Dec. 18, the last day that voters’ MyVote Wisconsin page would be updated with the status of their ballot from this past election.
Every vote mattered in the Presidential race in Wisconsin, with Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden winning the state’s 10 electoral votes by a mere 20,000 votes according to unofficial election results.