April 7 election

Planning is now underway for the Nov. 3 election in Waunakee, but a court order has put the process temporarily on hold.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court Monday rejected the Green Party presidential candidates’ request to be added the ballot, saying the request was too late and could cause “confusion and undue damage” so close to the election.

The Sept. 10 state Supreme Court injunction that ordered election officials to delay the mailing of ballots had area clerks in a holding pattern during a time when an unprecedented number of people are requesting absentee ballots.

The order allowed time for the Supreme Court to consider whether the Green Party’s presidential ticket could be included on the ballot.

Initially, the Wisconsin Election Commission decided that Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins and his running mate, Angela Walker, would be kept off the ballot because of a complaint alleging Walker had listed an incorrect address on several nomination papers. But a Green Party lawsuit was then filed, leading to the injunction.

In Waunakee, Clerk Caitlin Stene said she had planned to mail ballots for the Nov. 3 Presidential Election to voters this week.

Dane County sends municipalities like Waunakee the ballots, and she had expected them to arrive Sept. 11, but the court order changed that.

“We’re hoping to have the ballots soon because we do have a deadline of Sept. 19,” Stene said, adding that is the federal deadline to mail ballots to overseas voters, such as those serving in the military.

That allows 45 days for the ballots to reach overseas voters and for them to be returned in time to be counted.

Municipal clerks like Stene hoped the Supreme Court would make its decision sooner rather than later.

“If they do allow additional candidates on the ballot, Dane County then has to redesign the ballots, retest the ballots, and get them printed and then deliver them,” Stene said.

Then the clerks and volunteers process them and mail them out.

“It’s not something that can happen overnight,” she said.

A second request was also filed by rapper Kanye West, who had missed the deadline to file for the presidential election. The court declined to take up his challenge.

Stene said so far, 4219 Waunakee voters have requested absentee ballots. While the number of total voters in the 2020 election remains to be seen, Stene said in the 2016 presidential race, 7,784 residents voted.

Court orders have complicated planning for several of the last few elections.

“These last-minute court decisions always throw a wrinkle in,” Stene said. “We at the village just kind of wait for them now. These are unprecedented times, and we’re good at adapting. Be prepared for things to change.”

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