Absentee voting robust statewide

More than 412,000 Wisconsin residents have requested absentee ballots so far – including more than 256,000 in clerks’ offices – for the November 6 General Election, according to the Government Accountability Board.

“Based on our limited numbers, absentee voting continues to be robust around the state,” said Kevin J. Kennedy, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “One week ago, 225,209 absentee ballots had been requested.”

As of late Wednesday, at least 412,611 voters had requested absentee ballots, according to Wisconsin’s local election officials who track them using the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS). There were 256,277 ballots requested in clerks’ offices, and 156,334 ballots requested by mail and other methods.

Comparable pre-election numbers from four years ago are not available. In 2008, 21 percent of the 2.99 million ballots cast (633,610) were absentee. Clerks are not required to report absentee ballot numbers until after the election. However, more than half  of municipal clerks track some or all absentee ballots in SVRS, including all the state’s large cities.

In-person absentee voting in the clerk’s office runs through 5 p.m. or the close of business on Friday, November 2, whichever is later. Some clerks are offering extended hours to handle demand.  Voters should check their municipal clerk’s office hours. Some clerks, especially in smaller municipalities, do not have regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. office hours. In some places, voters may need to make an appointment.

Elections Division Administrator Nat Robinson urged voters to visit the My Vote Wisconsin website, where they can find their clerk’s location and contact information, as well as see a sample ballot and check their voter registration status: http://myvote.wi.gov.

Additional information about absentee voting is available on the Board’s website: http://gab.wi.gov/voters. The G.A.B. will release updated numbers on Monday, November 5.

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