We all remember the chaos of April. Many of us, and many of our leaders, still held hope that COVID would blow over in a few weeks, maybe even a few days. It didn’t pan out that way, and Wisconsin’s primary election fell right in the middle of that indecision. It was a mess, but it taught us some valuable lessons on the do’s and don’ts of a “pandemic election.”

From reporting via Up North News, among some of the more difficult problems presented in the April election were, “a record number of absentee votes cast, problems with some absentee ballots being lost in the mail, challenges finding workers to staff polling places, and the closing of some of those voting sites, including nearly all of them in the city of Milwaukee.”

But as troubling as that election was, we still find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, and the lessons learned from the Spring will be invaluable this Fall. State elections officials have been hard at work to address the “pain points,” and we’re already on solid footing for November 3rd.

According to WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe, some of the improvements that are already underway include:

Updates to the myvote.wi.gov website to streamline the ballot application process by providing more information about photo identification.
Updates allowing clerks to contact voters more quickly to correct problems, such as missing application information or identification photo issues, that could hinder their ability to cast ballots.

Ballots sent for the November election will include intelligent barcodes that will allow clerks to track ballots as they make their way through the mail.
Voters will be able to see the status of their ballots as well through the MyVote website.

A system also is being developed to cancel and reissue ballots when voters have problems with the mail.

You can read more about the work being done to turn the April chaos into a smooth November election here.