Hundreds of ballots pour in after election, before deadline

While those Port absentee votes were counted, 268 were not received by city, clerk says
Ozaukee Press staff

An additional 398 absentee ballots were received at Port Washington City Hall between the April 7 election and Monday’s deadline, City Clerk Susan Westerbeke said Wednesday.

Absentee ballots that were postmarked April 7 or earlier could be counted if they were received by Monday. While large counties such as Milwaukee reported issues with absentee ballots arriving without postmarks, there were only a few such instances in Port, Westerbeke said.

The Port Washington post office tried to process the ballots locally instead of sending them to Milwaukee to be processed, she noted. 

Ballots that weren’t postmarked properly or that didn’t have the required signatures on the envelopes were rejected per the Wisconsin Election Commission and local board of Canvass rules, she said.

“I didn’t feel it was an excessive number of ballots, considering what we were hearing about elsewhere,” Westerbeke said. 

Port residents cast 3,832 ballots, or 50.1% of eligible voters, she said.
That compares to a 63% turnout in the last presidential primary in 2016.

Westerbeke said the smaller turnout can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that there was only a contested Democratic race in the presidential primary — and most of those candidates had already dropped out of the race.

In 2016, there were heated races for both the Republican and Democratic presidential primary, she noted.

Westerbeke said that city voters cast 3,071 absentee ballots out of 3,339 that were sent out.

“We did have a number of people who had been mailed absentee ballots show up at the polls to vote,” she said, adding they were only allowed to cast one vote.

The spring election, she said, was extremely confusing because of changes that the governor and courts made at the last minute.

“I think this entire election, due to the situation with Covid-19 and the changes that were made, created a very difficult situation for municipal clerks, the state election commission and the post office as well as voters,” Westerbeke said.

Turnout in Ozaukee County was 54.3%. Voters overwhelmingly voted for former Vice President Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primary. Biden received 10,965 votes compared to his nearest competitor, Sen. Bernie Sanders with 4,139.

In the state Supreme Court race, they bucked the state by voting for Daniel Kelly over challenger Jill Karofsky, 18,055 to 14,202.

County voters also overwhelmingly voted for the victims’ rights referendum known as Marsy’s Law, 23,046 to 6,871.

Town of Port Washington voters narrowly approved a referendum calling for the town to appoint its treasurer rather than electing the treasurer, 312 to 227. 

In county supervisor races, one incumbent fell while two others survived challenges.

In the 2nd District in Fredonia, longtime Supr. Don Dohrwardt lost to Joshua Haas, a trustee on the Village Board, of which Dorhwardt is president.

Haas garnered 602 votes, or 63%, compared to 347 votes, or 37%, for Dohrwardt, who has been on the County Board for 20 years.

In the 5th District in Saukville, incumbent Don Clark fended off former Saukville Village Administrator Chris Lear, 377 votes to 299, or 55% to 45%.

In the 21st District in Mequon, incumbent Justin Strom defeated former supervisor Robert Wallerstein 643 to 521, or 55% to 45%.

Two newcomers also were elected to the County Board in uncontested races.

Christopher Duecker was elected to replace Doug Gall in the 16th District in Cedarburg.

Attorney Natalia Minkel-Dumit ran unopposed to replace retiring Supr. Jennifer Rothstein in the 26th District, who had served on the County Board for 14 years.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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