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Preparing to vote during a pandemic: Village of Hazel Green prepares for Aug. 11 election by taking extra precautions

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HAZEL GREEN, Wis.–Sally Bauer, village clerk in Hazel Green, is preparing for the village’s second election since the coronavirus pandemic began. On Aug. 11, Wisconsin will hold its partisan primary election. The village of Hazel Green staff is preparing village hall for voters to enter the building to cast their votes.

“Our top priority is to protect election workers and to protect voters,” said Bauer.

Prior to the April election, and since that election took place, Bauer and the village have been working to secure supplies for the August election including personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and masks.

The public works staff, prior to the April election, put together a sneeze guard for election workers and those will be utilized once again for this election.

Bauer is anticipating the August election to be similar to the April election. This April, Hazel Green had 286 absentee votes cast with over 100 in-person votes cast. In the April 2016 election, there were 20 absentee votes counted.

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The total numbers were only down 25-30 from the 2016 election.

So far, Bauer has 120 voters who have notified her office for absentee ballots. Bauer said the partisan primary election typically isn’t as well attended as the April primary or the general election.

Bauer and her staff are also preparing for the upcoming general election in November. According to Bauer, the village typically has 90 percent voter turnout among its 618 registered voters.

Bauer said Wisconsin is encouraging absentee ballots to help protect voters and election judges. The additional absentee ballots also take a toll on her office and costs more money due to envelopes and additional postage.

Bauer believes her staff and village hall are prepared for the upcoming election and are continuing to look for more hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and ballot pens to prepare the village for the November election.

In-person voting in Wisconsin can now take place 14 days prior to the general election.

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