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Saturday, May 25, 2024

State agency reports voting numbers on par with 2012 Recall Election

Wisconsin election officials are projecting voter turnout for Tuesday’s election to be similar to that of the 2012 Recall Election, according to Government Accountability Board spokesperson Michael Haas.

“We’re projecting about 57 percent turnout, which is about two-and-a-half million voters,” Haas said. “The 57 percent [is based on] an estimated voting age population, which is a figure from the U.S. Census Bureau.”

The GAB’s prediction is based on absentee ballot data, including early votes in clerk’s offices and those submitted by mail or other methods.

According to data released Wednesday, more than 205,000 absentee ballots had been cast and 25,000 had not yet been returned.

GAB Director and General Counsel Kevin J. Kennedy cautioned in a release, “these are partial numbers.”

“Out of Wisconsin’s 1,852 municipal clerks, about 360 use the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) to track absentee ballots,” Kennedy said in a press release Thursday.  “However, those are the state’s larger municipalities, which cover 69 percent of Wisconsin’s voters.”

Kennedy said making a direct comparison between years proves difficult because of election laws moving the primary election date and differences in the time period for in-person absentee voting in clerks’ offices.

“We are often asked how these numbers compare to previous elections,” Kennedy said in the release. “Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.”

Early voting has long been an important option for UW-Madison students, who may not have time to vote on Election Day.

Both the College Democrats and College Republicans held early voting rallies during the past few weeks to raise support for their candidates and get students to the polls.

While the College Democrats have held such rallies in the past, this year was a first for the College Republicans.

“The Democrats are really good at getting students out to early vote,” said College Republicans Chairman Charlie Hoffman.  “We took a page out of their playbook and actually we did it better than they did.”

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Both groups said they will continue their outreach efforts in the days leading up to the election.

Madison residents can register and vote early at the Madison Municipal Building between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. through Friday. After Friday, citizens can register and vote at their polling place between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

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