Absentee voters turned out in force during the two weeks before Tuesday’s election in Wisconsin. The state Government Accountability Board says, as of Monday afternoon, local clerks had recorded 289,615 ballots. Of those, 216,361 were early votes cast in a clerks’ office, while another 73,254 ballots had been cast by mail or using other absentee voting methods. Just over 16,000 absentee ballots issued had not yet been returned to clerks.
Absentee ballots sent by mail or filled out in person are held and not counted until Election Day. Those being mailed in to clerks must be postmarked by November 4 and received by the end of the business day on Friday, November 7.
GAB director Kevin Kennedy says early voting for the election has surpassed all absentee voting from Governor Scott Walker’s 2012 recall election. In that race, 265,427 absentee votes were cast. Absentee ballots accounted for about 10.5 percent of the vote in the 2012 recall and 2010 gubernatorial elections. They made up about 21.5 percent of the vote in the last two presidential elections in Wisconsin.
Kennedy also cautioned that the numbers out so far are only preliminary, since only about 360 of the state’s 1,852 municipal clerks record absentee ballots using the Statewide Voter Registration System. While the municipalities that use the SVRS cover 69 percent of Wisconsin’s voters, final totals will not be known until after Election Day.