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Clerks brace for big vote in Aug. 9 recall election

Local election clerks are preparing for a large turnout for next week's 10th State Senate District recall election.

"I am thinking that we'll be pretty busy. I think people are starting to realize that voting really counts -- every vote counts," said River Falls City Clerk Lu Ann Hecht.

She said just under 40% of the city's registered voters voted in the recall primary. Because of that high turnout, she raised the number of ballots she ordered for next week's election.

Pierce County Clerk Jamie Feuerhelm is expecting a turnout of 7,000 or better -- about the same number that would vote in the county's 10th District wards during a General Election.

"It was a good turnout," he said of the number who voted during the July primary. "It was big for a primary if you compare it to a September primary."

The number that voted in July was higher than he expected, said Feuerhelm.

"I guessed we'd have about 5,000 or better, and we ended up with 6,723."

The demand for absentee ballots for the Aug. 9 election has also been high.

"We've had an amazing amount," said Hecht.

Her office has issued close to 700 absentee ballots for the Pierce County side of the city and 180 for the St. Croix side. Of those, nearly 400 had been returned by Monday morning.

Hecht urged people who have not returned their absentee ballots to do so soon. She needs to have the ballots in her office in time to deliver them to polling places before 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Again this time, voters coming to the polls will be asked to show a photo ID, although that's not required until the next election.

"It's that soft implementation for next year," said Hecht.

She said the reaction to the photo ID requests during the primary was mixed.

"Some people knew they didn't have to (show a photo ID), so they didn't. Some people were happy to show it. They thought it was about time."

Those voting at the polls must also sign the poll book and state their name and address. In the case of those voting absentee, their signature on the absentee certificate is the equivalent of signing the poll book, said Hecht.

Polling places for Tuesday's election open everywhere at 7 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m.

If you live in the city, you vote at one of four sites, depending on your address:

1) National Guard Armory, 815 W. Division St.

2) UW-River Falls University Center, 500 E. Wild Rose Ave. (accessible by using Sixth Street entrance).

3) Meyer Middle School, 230 N. Ninth St. (use the north entrance).

4) High school, 818 Cemetery Road (use entrance to the commons and the gym).

Questions on where to vote can be directed to Hecht at 715-426-3408 or at

Town residents vote at their town halls: Kinnickinnic, 1271 County Road J; Troy, 654 Glover Road; Pleasant Valley, 1630 30th Ave.; Clifton, W11705 County Road FF; and River Falls, Hwy. 65 and Randall Road.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.

(715) 426-1049