One would think that, with all the continuing concerns about election integrity, the Green Bay City Clerk would be especially diligent in following the rules that govern the spring primary. Unfortunately, it was not to be. “With election integrity foremost on the minds of the voters, the City Clerk once again demonstrated she believed she was above the law,” stated James Fitzgerald, Chairman of the Republican Party of Brown County.

Posted on the City Clerks website is a legal Notice pursuant to Wis. Stat. s. 7.52 (1) (a), for
processing absentee ballots by the Municipal Board of Absentee Ballot Canvassers indicating date, time, and place. It stated the processing of vote-by-mail absentee ballots will be open to the public from 4pm to 5pm, or until finished, at which point the clerk will post the results.

Thanks to a diligent poll observer, who was on site at 8:23 a.m., we discovered the Clerk had already started processing absentee ballots. The Clerk failed to comply with her own notice and failed to instruct her staff to wait until the appointed time so that the public could engage in their statutorily-guaranteed right to observe the process.

Not only is this a legal requirement, it is also in the best interest of voters to have ballots counted in an open and transparent fashion. “Public transparency afforded by the Notice requirements is essential to preserving the public’s confidence in the electoral process. The events from today ran afoul of this founding principle. There should be no tolerance for undermining the public’s right to observe, inspect and ultimately, participate in the Election Day process,” stated Fitzgerald. What does the City Clerk have against full and complete transparency?

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