Salem adjusting ballots due to error

An error in how ballots were printed is causing Salem to hand correct voting instructions on ballots  for the primary election today.

Ballots printed for today’s election for town supervisor instructed voters to vote for four  individuals out of a field of six candidates.

However, voters should have been instructed to vote for only two candidates.

The primary was needed to narrow a field of six candidates to four for the spring election in April. The top four vote getters will advance to the April election. Two seats on the Town Board will be filled in the April election.

Cindi Ernest, town clerk, said ballots are being corrected by hand by poll workers with the correct instructions.

The town knows how many ballots were cast before the error was detected. The town is awaiting instructions from the state as to what to do with the ballots cast with the improper instructions, Ernest said.

County Clerk Mary Schuch-Krebs said preparation of the ballot for a town, village or city election is the responsibility of the municipality.

“We just take in their data,” Schuch-Krebs said.

Here is a statement issued by the town.



  1. Jim V says:

    I’m not sure this article is factually correct as the elctonic voting machines were programmed to accept 4 votes. They should have been programmed to accept only two votes. I think this was a major screw up by the Town Administrator.

    All I have to say is another good job by the Town Administrator and the Town Clerk. And the list goes on……

  2. Dr. Brad Smith says:

    I will second Jim V.’s “well done”. I wonder if anyone will accept responsibility for this error, or if the blame will be shifted outside of the Administrator’s office?

    By the way, has Mr. Casey gotten any federal grants yet for the beleaguered taxpayers of the Town of Salem?

    Thank you.

  3. John C. says:

    Have you ever seen the 3 stooges shows? Finger pointing everywhere going on in the town of Salem building. Federal grants? Remember Pat Casey will get back to you in how many days, weeks, months or perhaps when it is time to give him another very nice contract. But the same can be said for the Trevor grade school board with their thinking they are getting the 0% federal loan for 30% of that new building that we are all forgetting about. Everyone must remember we are witnessing CHICAGO style politics here. And by the way when my neighbors went to vote at around 4:30 the electronic voting machine at the Wilmont fire house was missing! The Revolution is coming again. John C.

  4. Jackie says:

    This whole election has to be done all over to be fair.When I voted I voted for 4 AS MANY PEOPLE DID So how can they give a count on ANYONE Which of my 4 votes did they count ? I will not accept any numbers on this and no one should.If I were any of the candadites I be yelling all the way up the chain. Guess our admin was out of office the day the ballets came in or dont have the experience we were lead to believe .Am I wrong but is it not HIS job to run the day to day operations of the town.Yes we all can make mistakes but this one a joke and it’s going cost us tax payers to do it again I,m really fed up with how things are getting done and how much more it costing the tax payers Jackie

  5. Chris Gustafson says:

    “Ignorance is no excuse from the law” except apparently for towns “the most direct form of democracy”? Some electors got to have all 4 of EACH their votes counted instead of being DISQUALIFIED? Everything was to be properly in place prior to the poll doors opening at 7 AM yet not one single election worker or official charged with carrying out this important PUBLIC TRUST caught wind of this itty-bitty error? Only one single “concerned resident” bravely brought it to the attention of a higher authority? The two-vote-only-casting electors aren’t shouting foul? Good thing for the town this wasn’t a U.S. Presidential Primary, right?

  6. Chris Gustafson says:

    What are “Wisconsin primary election inspector duties” ?
    copy & paste to the url address bar of your computer…

    What are the “Responsibilities of Election Inspectors/Poll Workers”?

    For a ‘snippet’ of the “Election Administration Manual for Wisconsin Municipal Clerks, July 2007″go to…

    And here a juicy bit of info for the electors….
    “Arguably, the State of Wisconsin has the most decentralized election administration system in the nation. It involves 72 county clerks and 1850 municipal clerks (in towns, villages andcities) in carrying out potentially six statewide elections in every two-year cycle.”

    Read in entirety at…

    Title: “A Submission: The Wisconsin Election Data Collection System
    A Model Protocol for Collecting, Reporting, and Managing Election Data
    by The State of Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, Elections Administration Division, Madison, Wisconsin for consideration by the
    National Association of Election Officials. The 2009 Professional Practices Program, Election Center 25th Annual National Conference
    San Diego, California. Contact: Nathaniel E. Robinson, Elections Division Administrator, Government Accountability Board, May 2009.

  7. Chris Gustafson says:

    ””Total voters for both polling places 391″”’

    “Diann Tesar 204
    Dennis Faber 171
    Dan Campion 155
    Jo Weidman 152
    Peter DeRidder 89
    Eileen Delmonico 64″

    Total who erroniously cast 4 votes EACH instead of=179
    (as reported in a different article here at westofthei) 45.79%
    out of …”'”total voters both polling places 391″”’

    Hmmm, does this “TABULATE CORRECTLY”?

    How many polling places are there anyway in the town for this supervisor primary?

    1. admin says:

      Chris: Since you reference another post I wrote here, I feel I should point out that 179 represents the number of voters who were allowed to vote for as many as four candidates. A state Government Accountability Board rep told me he was told inspection of the ballots showed most of those did not vote for more than 2. There’s no minimum, just a maximum. It’s not a perfect answer, but if you divide 835 votes by 391 voters you get an average of 2.1 votes per ballot. — Darren

  8. Jim V says:

    Hi Everyone,

    So Darren, if I understand you correctly, 179 people had bad instructions but a great majority voted correctly regardless of the instuctions. I think that answers Chris’ question. I guess the right answer lies in someone going into the Town Hall and asking to see all of the ballots with more than 2 votes recorded. It would probably be a good idea to ask for all of them and count the ballots with more than 2 votes. This should be available under the freedom of information act.

    But I have another question. Linda and I voted around 10 AM and I was #23 at Wilmot. Another voter had left a message on our phone and we listened to it at about 11:30. That person was # 50 at Salem. I thought Cindi said she corrected the problem around 10 AM. So how come another 100 ballots got through with bad instructions. I’ve heard that people voting at 3 or 4 PM still had bad instructions which seems to bear out the numbers we had at 10AM

    Bottom line I don’t think, from what I have seen and heard, that the final 4 individuals would change if this was done over and the same people voted.

    It’s just another Salem fiasco for us to be laughed at by other municipalities.


  9. Chris Gustafson says:

    I see, “very few were marked for four candidates”. But that still leaves a couple of lingering questions…. if “total voters both polling places 391”
    was the remaining 444 Absentee votes, were any of those write-ins, and how many of the “very few” voted for “not more than four” as incorrectly instructed?

  10. John C. says:

    One more fact that I forgot to add in my comments on Feb 16, that I feel must be brought out. My wife and I went to vote at Wilmont at 11:30 AM that day. There were instructions on the electronic voting machine that we used that said ” vote for 4 canditates out of the 6″. The same instruction were for the paper ballot machines. So to put an end to the nonsense that the problem was found and CORRECTED at 10:00 AM are wrong. From reading other peoples comments as to what time they voted and were still told to vote for 4 it appears that the problem went on ALL DAY, not 3 hours that has been told to various newspapers. Perhaps it was finally corrected between 4:30 and 5:00 PM. Enough of the 10:00 all is well and running smoothly story. John C.

  11. Chris Gustafson says:

    “Any duty owed by a municipality to the general public is also owed to individual members of the public.” This ought to include “Breach of Ministerial Duty”.

    An ““Overvote” – refers to a ballot in which an elector votes for more than the number of candidates to which he or she is entitled to vote in that contest.” This is interesting because One of our two 2010-2011 elections Chief Inspectors appointed at the TOWN OF SALEM REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MONDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2009, told me the morning of February 16, 2010 using electronic voting machines are “so simple its idiot-proof.”

    Well that makes our municipality’s ballot instruction errors even more problematic since “The pre-election test of electronic voting system (section 5.84, Wis. Stats.) uses a pre-determined set of ballots to ensure that the voting system is properly programmed prior to Election Day.” This supervisor primary election fiasco proves electronic voting machines rented with our tax dollars by the Town of Salem are not “fault-proof” and these devices being pushed on the electorate as a way to “save trees” are not reliably trustworthy.

    Who may “Commence or Intervene in Actions” against those who are responsible for defective ballots, and error in preparation? An elector can petition for enforcement of election laws and a state may take action. Regardless how little the effect on our town primary’s outcome, the overvotes should not have been counted for inclusion in the final certified election result totals even if it would have angered “just a few” who cast their “vote for not more than Four.”

    So why should we be more concerned and making a bigger fuss? In January 2006, Wisconsin Act 92 was signed into law. It requires a paper audit trail of ballots. This passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support and is a good indicator that across Wisconsin there is considerable concern over the reliability of the computerized voting machines. Section 7.08(6) Wisconsin Statutes (effective 1/1/06) applies section 301 (5) of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Section 7.08(6), Wis. Stats., requires the State Elections Board to audit each voting system that is used in this State following each General Election.

    As of August 23, 2009, no report on the audits has been made public by the GAB (Wisconsin Government Accountability Board).

    September 14, 2010 we have the Partisan Primary for the November 2, 2010-General Election.

    To learn more about General Election Audits, go to

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