The city clerk in Green Bay refused to set up an early
voting site on a college campus in part because she feared
the site would help Democrats, according to emails obtained
by a liberal advocacy group.
show City Clerk Kris Teske citing the potential partisan
advantage, along with concerns about ballot security, costs
and staffing issues, in refusing to establish the early
voting site at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus.
One Wisconsin Institute provided the emails to The
Associated Press on Tuesday, after the Nation first reported
pointed to statutes that prohibit early voting sites that
give a political party an advantage. The emails show that
state Rep. Eric Genrich, a Green Bay Democrat, was pressing
Teske to approve the university voting site, but she
refused, saying that people could vote early at City Hall.
is a polling location for students and residents on Election
Day but I feel by asking for this to be the site for early
voting is encouraging the students to vote more than
benefiting the city as a whole," Teske wrote in the
Aug. 26 email. "I have heard it said that students lean
more toward the democrats and he (Genrich) is a democrat ...
Do I have an argument about it being more of a benefit to
Judnic, an attorney for the state Elections Commission,
responded on Sept. 9, saying budget, staffing and ballot
security issues are all legitimate factors to consider when
setting up early voting sites and she doesn't have to
document any reason for choosing sites.
Judnic said he would be "hesitant" to argue that
one political party might gain an advantage because of a
particular polling location unless she could offer something
more than that she'd heard students lean Democratic. He
added that the site could be used by everyone in the city,
not just students, and since the campus is a polling site on
Election Day he can't see any difference in using it for
Schmitt appointed Teske to her position in February 2012.
Both the mayor and the city clerk are officially
nonpartisan. Schmitt's chief-of-staff, Celestine Jeffreys,
said he considers himself a moderate Republican.
declined comment when reached by The Associated Press,
referring a reporter to the statute barring sites that
provide a political advantage. Jeffreys said she didn't know
Teske's political affiliation.
stressed in a telephone interview that a number of people,
including herself, Teske and the city attorney, ultimately
decided not to create any satellite early voting sites given
budget, staffing and time constraints. Schmitt had no role
in those discussions, she said, and Teske was just trying to
understand and follow the law.
wasn't some vast ... right-wing conspiracy," Jeffreys
said, adding that she considers herself a Democrat.
charged in September with three campaign finance violations,
including making false statements on his finance reports,
attempting to accept funds from someone other than the
reported contributor and attempt to accept funds in excess
of contribution limits. He is expected to enter a guilty
plea in December in exchange for no jail time.