(The Center Square) – Nearly a million voters in Wisconsin already have asked for an absentee ballot.
The Wisconsin Election Commission’s Meagan Wolfe said that more people have requested a mail-in ballot for November than requested a mail-in ballot for the August primary. And those requests were a record.
“For November 2020, 807,440 voters have already requested an absentee ballot,” Wolfe wrote Friday in a letter to local election managers. “There were more than 593,000 absentee ballots returned to clerks for the [August] primary.”
Wolfe said there is no statewide vote count or voter turnout number because there wasn’t a statewide race. That means there’s no way to track voter turnout until all the votes are counted and canvassed. That will happen this week.
Wolfe told Wisconsin’s local clerks that voting in last week’s primary mostly went well.
“There were no major issues in Tuesday’s primary thanks to the hard work of Wisconsin’s clerks, the tens of thousands of poll workers and the Wisconsin National Guard,” Wolfe said.
The Wisconsin National Guard sent about 675 citizen soldiers to the polls. They all worked in their local communities.
But Wolfe said there were some issues to work out before November – most notably, processing and counting all the absentee ballots that are expected to come in.
Wolfe told local clerks that a number of communities reported “large numbers of absentee ballots” arriving by mail or being dropped off by voters on Election Day. That is a break from the past, and is a wrinkle that can effect the vote-count and perhaps even the outcome of the election.
“Most of Wisconsin’s 1,850 municipalities count absentee ballots at the polling place where the voter would normally vote, but 35 cities, villages and towns, including Milwaukee, count their absentee ballots at a central location,” Wolfe said, adding that led to some confusion and a delay in counting absentee ballots in Milwaukee.
There is also an open question of counting ballots after Election Day.
“For [the April] election only, ballots could be counted if they were postmarked by election day but received by April 13 because of a federal court order,” Wolfe said.
The Wisconsin Election Commission is scheduled to meet Sept. 1 to talk about the preparations for the November election and to try to answer some of the lingering questions left of from this month’s election.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.