City of Tomahawk taking steps to protect staff, voters during April 7 election
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor
TOMAHAWK – Although Wisconsin residents are currently following this week’s Safer at Home order issued by the state and the Department of Health Services to slow the spread of COVID-19, the April 7 spring primary election will still take place, meaning thousands of people will go to the polls to cast their votes for a variety of offices.
The City of Tomahawk is taking steps to ensure the safety of both staff and voters during the election, Clerk-Treasurer Amanda Bartz said.
Bartz said that the City is looking to utilize its own staff rather than the poll workers who usually work elections, due to most of the workers being in the high-risk category.
“We don’t want to put them in harm’s way,” Bartz explained.
Bartz said the State of Wisconsin is working to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer for Election Day. The Tomahawk Police Department has a few masks and gloves for the staff to use in the event the City can’t obtain them from the State, Bartz said.
Plexiglas barriers are being used in some municipalities to keep voters and workers separated, an option Bartz is looking into.
“I am looking into getting cheap pens and people can either take them with them or throw them in a bucket to be disinfected. I will have one person dedicated to cleaning the polling place and booths,” she added.
Bartz said roughly 300 absentee ballots have been sent out, an average of 20-30 per day that amounts to roughly 17% of registered voters in the City of Tomahawk.
“The more people that we can get to absentee vote, the better,” she noted.
How to request an absentee ballot
To request an absentee ballot, visit myvote.wi.gov and click on the grey title that says “Vote Absentee.” Those without internet access can call City Hall at 715-453-4040 for assistance in getting an absentee ballot, Bartz stated, adding the State has also extended the voter registration period to Tuesday, March 30, so voters can register online instead of at the Clerk’s Office.