Badger Books to be used in Dunn County

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:38 PM CDT
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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) - Election day is nearing and as voters across the state prepare to cast their ballots, some municipalities in Dunn County are preparing to use new technology.

Badger Books, which are electronic poll books, will be used in twelve municipalities in Dunn County for the upcoming April election. Five of those municipalities will be using them for the first time.

“A Badger Book is an electronic poll book,” Andrew Mercil, Dunn County Clerk, said. “It serves the same purpose to help register new voters, check in voters that are already registered at the polls on election day and then also just makes sure we are ensuring that people are voting in the right locations.”

When using the Badger Books, poll workers can either search a voter’s name or scan by ID. Mercil said this will speed up the process of voting for everyone involved in the elections.

“We saw some lines as long as an hour,” Mercil said. “We’re really hoping to cut that down. Badger Books help get the voter check-in down to roughly about 20 to 30 seconds. It’s a really, much more efficient system.”

So far, Mercil said feedback has been positive from the municipalities that have used the Badger Books.

“When they see how easy it is to use, the election inspectors and the poll workers see how user-friendly it is, they really have enjoyed it and the voters have enjoyed it as well because it just feels a little bit more secure this way,” Mercil said.

The county clerk said he hopes this tool will help simplify the voting process in an election he said he expects to be busy.

“We’re anticipating a higher than normal turnout for April,” Mercil said. “There’s a lot of attention on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, but in addition, the April elections are always really important because it’s local. So, it’s town boards, its city councils, it’s school boards.”

By 2024, Mercil said he anticipates 24 of the 30 municipalities in Dunn County will be using the Badger Books, with the ultimate goal of all of them using the books. He said each Badger Book should last ten years.

The spring election is on April 4. Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. in Wisconsin.