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Clerk resigns in protest of election not being postponed, citing safety concerns

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TOWN OF WATERLOO (WKOW) -- Along the Mississippi River and off of Whispering Bluffs Lane, Ted Faust said Thursday he will not remain quiet. Faust said he is stepping down from his position as the Town of Waterloo Clerk, refusing to administer an election Tuesday amid Governor Evers' "safer at home" order.

"Most of your farmers (in this community) are older. I'm over 60. All the poll workers are at over 60," Faust said. "If this [is] indeed serious enough to put all the businesses at risk and shut down the economy and everything else, it would seem to be serious enough to shut down the election."

Faust said, typically, about 200 people cast ballots for elections in this Grant County township. For the April 7 election, he said about 50 residents had requested absentee ballots.

While a federal judge on Thursday gave voters until the end of Friday to request a mail-in ballot, Faust said the lone polling place in the township will be closed unless someone steps into the clerk's job before Tuesday.

"We don't have any protective equipment," Faust said. "We're supposed to get some kind of supplies, some hand sanitizer and they told us to use Q-tips to operate the voting machine."

The decision to allow in-person voting on Tuesday comes as medical experts continue telling the public to prepare for the worst, especially given the ongoing lack of testing for COVID-19.

"The message we're trying to give people is assume that I have COVID-19, assume that you have COVID-19, and how would we act if we knew for sure that both of us had it?" said Dr. Jeff Pothoff, Chief Quality Officer at UW Health.

As a federal judge did on Wednesday, Faust said he blames both Governor Tony Evers' administration and Republican legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R - Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R - Juneau) for not moving to delay Tuesday's election.

"You see the political fighting up in Madison and you feel like a pawn in their game," Faust said. "I said 'somebody's gotta say something' so I wrote the other clerks."

Faust wrote an email to his fellow clerks in Grant County and also called on clerks statewide to boycott the spring election.

"If the legislature and the governor can't get together on it, the clerks can collectively shut it down," he said.

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A. J. Bayatpour

Capitol Bureau Chief

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