Karla Endres is a longtime resident of Waunakee and will now serve as the village’s clerk as well. Endres has 15 years experience in the clerk profession, as the former deputy and village clerk for Shorewood Hills.

Karla Endres has been appointed clerk for the Village of Waunakee, where she will administer elections and maintain records for the municipality while performing essential administrative functions.

Endres was sworn into office Jan. 10, at which time she assumed responsibility for several tasks set forth by state law. Wisconsin Statute 61.25 has mandated that the new clerk attend village-board meetings, keep minutes, record licenses and permits, and manage the tax roll among other statutory duties.

Though the position can be overwhelming for some, it’s all part of the daily grind for Endres, a longtime Waunakee resident.

A certified municipal clerk with an MBA in finance and management, Endres served as deputy clerk for the Village of Shorewood Hills from 2007 to 2017. The department provided services to a community of fewer than 2,500 people, but the responsibilities were the same as those clerks undertook in larger municipalities: elections management, recordkeeping, documenting taxes, as well as more basic clerk duties required by law.

The experience laid the groundwork for a successful career in the field, and in 2017, Endres took over the Shorewood Hills department as village clerk. With limited staff, she found herself doing utility billing, accounts payable and other finance-related tasks.

Endres was named Waunakee’s new village in January, and assisting with payroll for the village, she considers the job identical to one she worked for the past 15 years in every way except one.

“Waunakee is a much larger community,” Endres said. “So the growth aspect – new businesses, new development, adding wards to the village, annexation by the village – those are a little bit different than what I’ve dealt with in the past just because we didn’t have that opportunity.”

Endres said she expects some adjustment time will be needed as she settles into the new role.

Aside from having to familiarize herself with new systems and increased workload in some areas, however, the transition has gone more smoothly than she expected.

“There’s definitely some learning curves, but not as much as I anticipated the first two weeks,” Endres said. “The day-to-day duties of a clerk are pretty similar no matter where you go, especially with elections. Those are all administered (in accordance with) guidelines from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.”

Endres said ensuring residents are informed about voting opportunities will be among her top priorities over the next few months.

“One of my goals this year is to make sure that, with the redistricting, that people utilize the My Vote (Wisconsin) system and know where their polling location is,” Endres said, noting that the village now has two locations for residents to cast their ballots. “And know that there’s going to be some changes. To make the polling locations more efficient, we’ll be utilizing the new Badger Books that the village has purchased.”

An electronic pollbook system, the Badger Book was developed by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) in 2017 as a way to expedite the voting process at polling locations. The system has been used by municipalities throughout the state to register voters, check them in, and process absentee ballots on election day for the past four years.

For many, it has offered a secure alternative to the traditional pen-and-paper system.

“They’re a great way for people to move through the polls, especially during the pandemic,” Endres said, adding that the municipality for which she previously worked utilized the system. “It made the polling lines shorter because you could go to any line. You didn’t have to wait for your specific alphabetical letter, and you can do any function at either one of them. You can register and get your ballot number (all in one place).”

Endres said village staff are eager for the April 5 election, and that they will be releasing more information as soon as the electronic pollbook system is set and ready for use.

Aside from that, the new clerk said efforts will be focused on “keeping the piles low” on her desk.