(The Center Square) – Of the nearly 2 million people who’ve asked for an absentee ballot in Wisconsin, some 250,000 people have yet to get them back to their local election clerk. 

Meagan Wolfe, the administrator at the Wisconsin Elections Commission, on Thursday said there are a quarter-million ballots that may still be out there. 

“Some of those voters may have decided to cancel their absentee ballot by-mail, and are planning instead to vote in-person absentee or at the polls on Election Day,” Wolfe said. 

But there is no way to know just how many voters may be taking that route. Wolfe said local clerks and the Elections Commission do not track that number. 

Wolfe added that it is too late to mail an absentee ballot and have full confidence that it will arrive to the local elections clerk or elections commission by Election Day.

“The United States Postal Service has continually told us throughout this year that it can take a week to deliver those ballots by mail,” Wolfe explained. “Now that we have less than seven days, voters need to consider another method to get those ballots back to the polls to be counted.”

That there are 250,000 ballots that could be floating around Wisconsin worries Brett Healy, the president at the MacIver Institute. 

“Any unused absentee ballot sitting out there is a concern, [and] 250,000 unreturned ballots is a lot of potential votes,” Healy told The Center Square. “Every citizen should care and worry about ballot integrity.”

Overall, Wolfe said, 1.9 million people have asked for an absentee ballot or voted early in-person in Wisconsin. That state has just over 3 million registered voters. Of the nearly 2 million early and absentee votes in the state, nearly a half-million have been in-person early votes. 

“We’re up to 476,706 people who voted in-person absentee,” Wolfe said. That number will go up, but Friday is the last day to vote early.

Healy said that is still an awful lot of ballots sent out into the state with the hope that people can be trusted to vote and return them properly. 

“The more we move away from the traditional in-person, one day only to vote model, the more careful we need to be and the more effort we need to put into making sure absentee, early in-person and all other forms of voting are carried out properly and without incident,” Healy said. “In-person, day-of-election voting is the most secure and reliable way to vote.”

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.