City News

Mayor celebrates Madison’s record-high voter turnout

Madison's voter turnout reached a record high this midterm election.

Image By: Dana Kampa

Voter turnout for the November 2018 gubernatorial election reached a record high of 92.9 percent — the highest pre-registered voter turnout in Wisconsin’s history. The November 2014 gubernatorial vote was 69.5 percent.

“We’ve been talking about trying to get in between those two numbers, in between 70 and 81 percent with a target of 75 percent,” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said in a press conference Wednesday. “Crossing 80 percent was imaginable. Over 90 percent? Unimaginable. This is just fantastic.”

Despite the record-breaking turnout, Soglin also stated that the number of pre-registered voters for the 2018 election was 156,000, while the April 2017 election pre-registered over 200,000 citizens. According to Soglin, this was due to the “major purging” of old voters off the rolls this past year.

The number of voters that participated in the midterm election this past Tuesday reached 145,000. The preceding 2014 presidential election only had 9,000 more voters.

“I highly doubt that you’re going to see many communities around the country where the gubernatorial vote yesterday, the state vote, was so close to the presidential vote in the past,” Soglin said.

Historically, the City of Madison and Dane County have always been leaders in voter turnout, according to Soglin. This year’s voter turnout can be explained by the efficient and quick voter process, as well as the rigorous campaigning done by the candidates.

“There’s no question that the two candidates and their workers, the media campaigns, had a lot to do with it,” Soglin said. “But our role is to make [voting] as easy and understandable and convenient as possible.”

Convenience proved to be very important for first time voters, which can be credited to the efforts of Madison’s Clerk office. People were able to vote in a matter of 15 minutes, according to Soglin.

“Anybody who voted yesterday, you are part of history,” Soglin said.

The mayor said he also has high hopes for the city’s voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election.

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