West Bend, WI – Friday, November 4, 2022 was the final day for in-person absentee voting, ahead of the Tuesday, November 8, 2022, General Election. It was around 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon when Doug Gonring spoke with someone in the clerk’s office in the City of West Bend, Wi and was told he could not drop off his ailing aunt’s absentee ballot.
Gonring went to West Bend’s City Hall and city clerk Lizbet Santana said he would have to fill out forms and answer some questions.
Gonring then questioned why he was told “no” that he could not drop off his ailing aunt’s ballot.
Santana said she wasn’t there at the time of the call.
Gonring went on to explain what he was told on the phone. “I asked her to give me the reasons why I could not do that, and she said because of the election laws of 2020 that they changed things and people who are not the person, and my aunt would have had to have her ID… to turn this in herself,” said Gonring. “I happened to call Ashley (Reichert the Washington Co. clerk) and she said the rules as of 20 days ago states people can do it (submit a ballot) for disabled people.”
It was September 7, 2022, when the Wisconsin Election Commission posted “Guidance on Absentee Ballot Return Options Under the Federal Voting Rights Act.”
As Gonring was at the clerk’s desk waiting to sign some papers…. another man was turned away from dropping off his wife’s absentee ballot. The woman from the clerk’s, however, did not ask why the man’s wife needed voting assistance before turning him away.
District 2 alderman Mark Allen stood by during the entire 40-minute process. He said the “rules have changed several times” and “there are different circumstances for turning in someone’s absentee ballot.” Questioned whether the poll workers went through training and would be up to speed on the rules knowing the election dates are set in stone… Allen said he would ask.
After the 40-minute process to submit his aunt’s ballot was over, Gonring said, “I don’t know why these rules aren’t uniform that every clerk is running it the same way.”
Questioned whether he was confused, Gonring said, “Yeah I was. I mean you get one answer from two people, and you get a different one from here and pretty soon I was thinking do I have to one day rush this (mail it) to get through.”
Gonring signed the form, submitted the ballot and left, however he did not have a copy of the form he signed.