Reid Magney of the Government Accountability Board says there’s been a relatively high number of requests for absentee ballots in the gubernatorial recall election. “We’re expecting that maybe as many as one in four ballots casts for this election will be done by absentee.”
Voters don’t need to provide any reason for choosing to cast their ballot early, but Magney says it wasn’t always this easy. “You know for many years in Wisconsin we had a system where you needed an excuse or a reason to get an absentee ballot … in about 2000 the legislature changed that.”
That change allowed everyone to take advantage of early voting. Magney says the percentage of voters using this method increased over the years, from 6 percent in 2000 to more than 21 percent in 2008, before dropping to 10 percent in 2010. Elections officials expect about 25 percent of voters in this recall election to use an absentee ballot. The high number of absentee ballots being requested is an indication of expected high voter turnout on Tuesday.
All properly-cast absentee ballots will counted, regardless of how close the election is. Total voter turnout is expected to be up to 65 percent.
GAB officials say just over 182,000 absentee ballots had been requested for this election through midday Friday, compared to 230,744 in the November 2010 General Election for governor, and a total of 633,610 cast in the November 2008 General Election for president.
The G.A.B. will continue to provide updated numbers as clerks enter them into the system. Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day.
UPDATE: As of noon Monday, at least 206,128 absentee ballots had been issued.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:28