A long-standing tradition of hand delivering absentee ballots in the Waupaca County town of Dupont will have to change, following a court decision on Wednesday morning. Judge Phillip Kirk dismissed a petition for a recount in Dupont's spring election, saying the way absentee ballots were delivered and cast is not sanctioned by state statute.
The petition was filed by longtime Town Chair Ray Arndt, who lost the election to Kely Zillmer when the absentee ballots were set aside during canvassing. He would have won if all 29 had been counted.
Town Clerk Barb Shanak hand-delivered most of the absentee ballots, and also took most of them back to her home or office when the vote was cast. Even though Arndt says it's been done that way for 50 years, Judge Kirk says it's not allowed.
Shanak resigned her positions as clerk once the issue of ballot delivery was raised. Judge Kirk says it seems she was simply following a long-held practice.
The judge did rule that three of the 29 absentee ballots in question should have counted, but those three would not have affected the outcome of the election.