Municipal Clerk Nominations
Thank you Wisconsin Clerks!
May 1-7, 2022 is the 53rd Annual Municipal Clerks Week
Municipal clerks are in charge of elections for your city, town, or village. They handle voter registrations and absentee ballots for voters in your community. You can look up your Municipal Clerk’s name and contact information here via the My Vote WI site.
At the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition, we know how impactful Municipal Clerks are in making the voting process welcoming and inclusive and we want to recognize their efforts by highlighting best practices and how they make voting possible by reducing barriers.
Municipal Clerks Week was initiated in 1969 by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and endorsed by all its members throughout the United States, Canada and 15 other countries. It is a time of celebration and reflection on the importance of the Clerk’s office.
We invited community members to recognize their municipal clerk and received many responses recognizing the outstanding work of municipal clerks across Wisconsin. Submissions recognizing Wisconsin clerks may be viewed on our website below and on our Facebook page. The WDVC thanks Wisconsin clerks for their hard work to ensure our elections are accessible for voters with disabilities and to safeguard the health, safety, and rights of voters.
Nominated by Lissa Radke
“Heather Schutte is one of Ashland County’s best assets! As the county clerk, she is responsible for recording and reporting the election results of all 17 towns, cities, and villages to the Wisconsin Election Commission. She is patient, calm, kind, and knowledgeable during the days before, during, and after an election. She practices high standards of professionalism by being well-prepared with poll supplies, election materials, and staff. Our elections are in Heather’s capable and trustworthy hands!”
Nominated by Mary Ann Biederwolf
“2021 was my first experience as a poll worker. At my polling location, a doorbell was installed for anyone needing curbside service to alert that assistance was needed. The doorbell was utilized during our February primary. One of the chiefs went out and then assisted the voter into the building and guided each step of the voting process in an unhurried fashion (respecting the voter’s privacy). The chief was patient and answered/clarified any questions/concerns. While the chief I observed wasn’t the actual city clerk mentioned by name, the clerk’s professionalism in training all of the chiefs /poll workers and leading by example demonstrates her commitment to providing accessible voting to all.”
Nominated by 2 people
|“Carrie makes sure all voting sites are clear of obstacles for people with disabilities. She makes sure voting machines are in a location where anyone could use them. She also makes sure all poll workers are aware of the rights for people with disabilities to cast their ballot.” – Jason Endres
“Carrie Riepl, as city clerk, works with the Eau Claire school district to provide a post-high school graduate program on voting for individuals with disabilities. It is a fantastic education for these students, and she thinks there should be more similar programs for the public. When asked about what guidance she would provide to a voter who cannot return their ballots themselves because of a disability, Carrie cited the Voter Disability Act and made clear that it applies to all aspects of the voting process. The city will accept absentee ballots from an assistant if they sign the Certificate of Assistant on the absentee ballot envelope prior to its return to the city. Carrie noted that in this past April election, they were able to minimize the number of ballots that could not be returned under the new rules, by working individually with people in each situation, to find solutions within the allowed parameters. For example, if a friend was attempting to return an absentee ballot for someone who was unable to get out of the car, the clerk or authorized deputy would go to the car to get the absentee ballot directly from voter.Under Carrie’s leadership, the city provides in-person absentee voting starting two weeks before an election, and it is a full drive-through process, making it very accessible. The City Clerk also maintains an Elections page on the City of Eau Claire’s government website, located at https://www.eauclairewi.gov/government/our-divisions/elections. This provides a “one-stop shop” of information about how to register to vote, find your polling place, and even a 2-minute video that clearly illustrates the process of voting in person, and steps that were taken to assure that in-person voting is safe. The website also lists the nine health care facilities where special voting deputies conduct absentee voting and the dates and times they will be present. This page is full of detailed information that any prospective voter can learn from, with links to detailed information about absentee voting, and clear information about how to vote absentee and how to return an absentee ballot in Eau Claire. Whenever there are changes, the elections webpage is updated. When asked about physical access to polling places, Carrie says that each site must comply with the disabilities checklist before it will be approved in Eau Claire. They measure door widths, slope of ramps, and other parameters that assure that each site is fully accessible.Carrie noted in conversation that they are continually evaluating processes after every election and every training. They are continually evolving and are very open to hearing any concerns. Carrie’s goal as the Eau Claire City Clerk is to both follow the rules and make it possible for every eligible person to vote. This nomination is being co-submitted by Bobbie KUCHTA, who is a poll worker in the City of Eau Claire. 815 Summer Street, Eau Claire WI 54701-4239 firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-456-7771 (mobile)” – Karen Voss
Nominated by Midge Gill
|Michelle went to the nursing homes and got the residents registered to vote and voted. My sister’s mother-in-law recently moved to Fort Atkinson from Racine. Michelle made it very legitimate and easy for her to vote without leaving the assisted living facility.
Nominated by 6 people!
- “Maribeth trains poll workers and voting ambassadors to make sure we know how to help all voters. She and the staff at the City Clerk’s Office work extremely hard.” – Jonathan Beers
- “Maribeth has had a long history of accessible voter registration outreach to all neighborhoods. During COVID she initiated new drop boxes and had clerk staff in all city parks available to receive absentee ballots. Before COVID she had drive-up registration and promoted resources in the community–like free cab rides to the polls. Maribeth is accessible, knows the people in the city she serves, and is often seen doing person-to-person outreach herself.” – Ruth Ann Berkholtz
- “Maribeth conducts thorough trainings for Madison Election Officials before every election – emphasizes any new rules in place, and what we need to do to make the process secure and accessible.” – Joy Cardin
- “Cheerful. Knowledgeable. Cociente.” – Nancy Townsend
- “Maribeth has been our clerk for many years and seems to do her job in a timely, thorough way, making it as easy as possible for elders (like me) and those with disabilities to vote. She deserves all the support we can give her.” – Maureen McDonnell
- “Ms. Witzel-Behl went out her way to ensure access to the ballot to all residents in the Madison area. For example, she not only made sure that people to were ambulatory could reach government buildings to register to vote, she created opportunities for people to register at food pantries, parks, churches and other places. Her office also made it possible for curbside voting and drop boxes to increase access for people to drop off their ballot. I believe there are also other measures that Maribeth Witzel-Behl implemented that help to increase voter participation in the City of Madison. For example working with churches and other community organizations to identify ways they could work together to educate, register and engage the citizenry in the voting process.” – Earnestine Moss
Nominated by 2 people
- “Catherine ensures timely mailing of absentee ballots.” – Patrick and Jan Pesek-Herriges
- “Kate is very detailed and makes sure we, as poll workers, understand what we need to do. She provides training and responds to our questions. This is her first year and she is doing an outstanding job of managing us all.” – Joan Custer
Nominated by 3 people
Nominated by Mark Smith
“Oconto County is full of older adults, so I have no specific examples. All I know is, she is damn good at her job, as honest and competent as the day is long. I know she’s not a municipal clerk, but I’m nominating her anyway. I’ve seen her in action in numerous elections, including the Jill Stein recount- Kim is very, very good and deserves every accolade we can give her!!”
Nominated by Nikki Fisher
“Tara Coolidge, Racine City Clerk, is dedicated to making sure that every person has an opportunity to vote. She is, in fact, so dedicated that she recently received negative attention from State Senator Van Wanggaard for accepting ballots delivered by individuals who indicated they were authorized by the voter to deliver them on their behalf. This was a position some clerks were not willing to take, even though state law does not prohibit it. Tara’s team has also created robust communications programs that inform voters about their rights and has deployed mobile voting sites at community centers for early voting to make sure everyone has an opportunity to vote. As a poll worker, I can also attest to the fact that Tara and her staff work hard to train and support poll workers for every election.”
Nominated by Jill Vestuto
“Aaron sends poll workers to the nursing/assisted living homes so people there can vote.If anyone needs assistance with entering the building, he helps. Aaron remains calm under pressure and is always helpful with polling place issues. .People are encouraged to do absentee voting or to stop by the town office for additional assistance. He assists at the end of day in the counting process.”
Nominated by Emily Vrbensky
“Meredith and her office staff go above and beyond to make voting accessible and fair in the City of Sheboygan. I work with her as a Chief Election Official, and the trainings are always clear and informative so that every poll worker is equipped to make voting day easy for voters. Meredith is very responsive when there are issues at a polling place. Meredith and her staff will drive all over the city to ensure that every vote gets counted. One year, we had a mix up where 2 people who must have been witnessing each others’ absentee ballots switched envelopes. Meredith’s office diligently contacted the City Clerk from the other municipality to sort out the issue and make sure both votes were counted. Her office has invested heavily in safe and secure drop boxes for absentee votes, and even keeps their office open on a Saturday during in person absentee voting to give further access to voters. This year when the city maps changed, they sent out reminders to every single citizen to check their ward and their polling place. I know the City Clerks job is more than just voting, but everything Meredith does for our elections could be a full time job in itself.”
Nominated by Jody Allen
“I would like to nominate Kasie Miller because she has, as deputy chief clerk, been doing the job of the city clerk while the city is trying to hire a new clerk who left before the the end of last year. She has made sure that ALL of the polling places in West Bend are handicap accessible. She has also made sure that in our poll worker training that we were taught how to use the electronic ballot box with the right equipment (hand held voter equipment) as well as made sure that we all knew the procedure of going to a vehicle to allow someone to vote. She made sure that poll workers understood that with the lack of drop boxes and the confusion with who could return ballots not their own, that if the individual was an agent of the disabled person they could turn in the ballot for them.
Kasie has done a great job despite all of the changes in voting this spring election while doing both her job as the deputy chief as well as the that of the absent clerk. She and her team are always caring either when dealing in person or on the phone about questions. We in West Bend are very lucky to have her and to have a municipal government that has a great website for voters to use to get information.”
Nominated by Linda Lipinski
“Julie always goes out of her way to help with whatever issues you might have. Professional, responsible & kind.”
Nominated by Tut Gramling
“Morgan carefully instructs poll workers and follows the guidelines of elections commission.”
Nominated by Cindy Dillenshneider
“Our polling place is welcoming and our Municipal Clerk is helpful. Elections are run smoothly, and when assistance is needed with machines or in understanding the process, it is easy to ask for help. Our clerk is helpful, friendly, and runs smooth elections. Thanks for all your great work!”
Mary Beth Tillman
Nominated by Gina Emily
“Mary Beth has always been supportive of the folks in our town. From meeting people outside in their cars if they are unable to come inside (always with another person for safety and legal requirement), to having the latest voting equipment, signage and elevator safety. She listens to others, assesses needs, and takes action (latest voting equipment) all with a cheerful smile and attitude.She has always encouraged poll workers to keep up on our election training and to go beyond the minimum requirements. She helps us to review before each election – especially with the latest unrest some supervisors and voting clerks have been subjected to.”
Nominated by Cheryl Anderson
“Jennie is very new to this job and has learned quickly what is necessary to offer a good experience to Merrimac voters. She is kind and considerate to young and old alike. The voting room is set up so it is easily accessible to anyone with a disability. She trains the poll workers to do a good job making voting easy and speedy while making everyone feel welcome.”
Nominated by Dorothy Skye
“Kim Gauthier is the epitome Wisconsin’s excellent, small town clerks. In the recent April election, Kim overcame the obstacles of the COVID pandemic and the necessary closure of the Newbold Town Hall to provide safe access for all of her town’s voters. She saw to it that mail-in ballots were distributed quickly to everyone that requested them. She made herself readily available for in-person voting in advance of Election Day. She appropriated the Newbold Firehouse as a polling place and carried out all necessary messaging and signage well in advance. She carefully instructed poll workers how to make the ad hoc site work. She ensured the entrance, exit and flow pattern would allow easy access to all voters. Curbside voting was readily available; she stood at the entrance to make sure of that. At the same time, she incorporated all precautions to keep everyone safe in the process.”
Nominated by Annemarie McClellan
“Cheryl Miller is an outstanding clerk. She goes above and beyond to educate voters and ensure their vote counts.”
Nominated by Lynn Fitch
“Kathy was a new clerk this year, thrown into the position unexpectedly. Our county ordered new voting equipment this year and when it arrived, Kathy took it upon herself to learn the details of using the disability accessories. She practiced with it and had her husband come in to practice it so she would know how to direct poll workers on the process and questions. Her husband is considered legally blind so between the two of them, they spent more a lot of time on the equipment to find out which steps were easiest.”
Nominated by Cookie Lough
“June makes special hours and appointments for our aging and disabled population-she goes over and above to assist in voting.”
Nominated by Kiley Komro
“Clerk Cindy Komro goes above and beyond her stated duties to assist disabled and elder adults vote in her community. During the absentee voting period in Wisconsin, she is careful to follow up with voters who may have forgotten to sign their ballot envelopes or get a witness signature. She has visited the homes of voters who have mobility issues to assist with rectifying errors and ensure that their vote is properly recorded according to all state voting laws.”
Nominated by Kate Reimann
“DaNean always tries to make the voting experience as easy as possible within legal guidelines for all of our residents, including disabled and elderly residents. She is kind and does her best to help people.”
Nominated by Carolyn Saunders
|“Fran always comes out of her office and out from behind the security window to speak with voters or anyone who has a voting-related question or issue. She is quick to provide curbside voting and/or curbside drop off of absentee ballots. Fran is proactively visible in our community, meeting with any group that invites her presence.”
Nominated by Beth Hengst
|Beth shared a quote from NPR article
“Toya conducted her first election as clerk on Feb. 15 of this year, when drop boxes were still allowed.She’d served in other government roles before landing in the 13,000-person suburb of Milwaukee, and she says her job blends her passion for voting with more administrative experience needed to run things.”I was always that type of person that was always yelling at the masses to get out and vote, and I worked as an election inspector in Madison,” she said.Recent rulings on drop boxes sent Harrell and her office scrambling to communicate the changes and field questions from Shorewood voters who felt inconvenienced – but who appreciated having election officials-turned-customer service help out.In addition to election administrator, Harrell sees her role as a flexible communicator to sort through rule changes and make the voting experience as simple as possible.”This job really allows me to think on my feet and to really think outside the box,” Harrell said. “And working here, I’ve learned to work as though there is no box.”