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County clerks deal with growing concerns over election safety

WAOW Television

Election clerks across Wisconsin are speaking out on safety concerns ahead of the August primary after officials in Dane County issued a report saying security for workers needs to be tightened.

Area clerks say the pressure on election day has risen in the past few years.

"In 2016, 17, 18 we started gearing up to make our critical election infrastructure more secure," said Wood County Clerk Trent Miner.

Miner says recent changes to security measures at the courthouse have put him more at ease about the safety of his workers and equipment.

"We're not too big and a lot of people know us and know the election workers," he said.

But increasingly negative sentiment toward the election process has gnawed on the growing concerns in the back of his mind.

"Certainly, when the question of election integrity comes up, that gets everybody's ire up," Miner said.

Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe agrees.

"People seem less afraid to voice their opinion," he said.

Miner says it's even causing his team to shrink. He has lost three municipal clerks and several long-time poll workers.

"I have a number of them that aren't even running for election next term just because of the pressure that's being put on county clerks and municipal clerks from those outside entities," he said.

Marlowe says Lincoln County will have heightened security during elections.

"We always have our law enforcement on alert, on election day," he said. "They're well aware of the situations."

But besides that, Miner says it's business as usual.

"All you can do is try to prove that the systems that Wisconsin and Wood County have in place work and that we do have secure elections," he said.

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