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New London students test voting equipment

New London City Clerk Nicole Ryerson speaks to NLHS American Government students in the city council chambers on March 26th. Students took part in the public test of the city’s electronic voting equipment one week prior to the recent spring primary election. See story page 6. Submitted Photo

Class visits city clerk

Juniors at New London High School got a hands-on civics lesson days before the recent spring primary election.

As part of their American Government classes, 11th graders visited te city council chambers in the New London Municipal Building on March 26.

New London City Clerk Nicole Ryerson explained the process of voting and described the city’s electronic voting equipment.

By law, all Wisconsin municipalities are required to conduct a public test of their electronic voting equipment not earlier than 10 days before each election.

The test provides an opportunity for the public to witness how officials prepare for an election and to understand the security protocols in place ahead of Election Day.

Considered a public meeting, the public test is noticed at least 48 hours prior. In this way, the public is invited to attend and observe the testing process.

Ryerson provided an Election Day tutorial: she displayed a map of the city’s five aldermanic districts, 12 wards and four county supervisory districts.

She explained how optical scan voting machines function by accurately tabulating ballots; and she unlocked a voting machine, showing where the paper ballots are securely stored after a voter casts his or her ballot.

Ryerson then gave students premarked “practice” ballots to demonstrate how the voting machine detects ballots with write-in candidates or those that are improperly marked.

All students had a chance to insert at aballot into any of the five voting machines and follow the on-screen prompts if needed.

New London High School students receive civics education in global studies, U.S. history and American government.

Government students will be taking the state-mandated 100-question civics test later this month.

Gary Henschel, Patrick Lawton and Brian Mathu are New London’s three American government teachers.
“It is one thing to learn about voting and elections in the classroom,” said Henschel. “But to visit an actual polling place made it a far more tangible lesson.”

“The best part of this experience is for the students to see part of the voting process,” said Lawton, “a process some of them will be taking part in this coming fall election.”

Mathu added, “Many students shared they had never visited a polling place on Election Day. This was an excellent opportunity for these students — and so-to-be voters — to see what it’s all about.”

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