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Wausau City Hall Goes Electronic

Badger Books Replace Paper Poll Books
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The City of Wausau requested funding from the City Finance Committee to purchase seven Badger Books to help ease the election process. The primary use of the books will be to make the election process simpler and more efficient for poll workers.

Voters can expect to use the books for a more prompt sign-in process and then they can continue to vote using their normal ballots. The books can also be used by voters to help register last minute and make registration updates.

The City of Wausau plans to have a day that allows for poll workers and the public to come and see how it works before election day. Ultimately, the change should not affect voters drastically. However, poll workers have undergone training on how to use the Badger Books.

Badger Books store information in real-time allowing voters to verify their vote on the My Vote system more quickly, instead of having to wait a few days like they have in past elections because of the manual process. The virtual books store information, but are not connected to the internet, so they cannot be hacked.

“Badger Books is administered through the Wisconsin Elections Commission. It’s a safe and secured connection, and our neighbors at the Village of Weston have been using it for quite a while, as are other municipalities in Wisconsin,” said Leslie Kremer, City Clerk.

Currently, they use paper poll books that are usually printed out a day or two before the election and distributed to each poll worker. Upgrading will massively diminish paper use, reduce human error and will require half the amount of poll workers. Another benefit is no longer having to manually record every vote. This makes it faster and easier to submit the votes to the state.

The City of Wausau plans to start using the few used Badger Books they have for the Central Count Absentee Ballot Program at City Hall for the 2022 Primary Election in February. They do not have enough funding to have them all right away. They cost $2,000 a book, so the process will be gradual as polls start using them. The goal is to have enough Badger Books to cover all the poll sites in the near future.

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