545,000 request absentee ballots in Wisconsin


The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board reports that before the sun even came up on Election Day – that’s today – more than 545,000 voters had requested absentee ballots. That number includes more than 392,000 people who voted in clerks’ offices.

“It is clear absentee voting plays an important role in the election, with more than half a million people making requests during a shorter time period,” stated Kevin J. Kennedy, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “Absentee voting in clerks’ offices finished up Friday, giving clerks more time to be better prepared for Election Day on Tuesday.”

As of early Nov. 5, at least 545,060 voters had requested absentee ballots, according to Wisconsin’s local election officials who track them using the Statewide Voter Registration System. There were 392,912 ballots requested in clerks’ offices and 152,148 ballots requested by mail and other methods.

The absentee ballot numbers for Wisconsin are not complete because only military and permanent overseas absentee ballots are required to be tracked in SVRS.

However, about 350 municipalities, including most major cities, track some or all absentee ballots in addition to military and overseas ballots in SVRS.

Comparable pre-election numbers from four years ago are not available.

In 2008, 21 percent or 633,610 of the 2.99 million ballots cast were absentee ballots. Kennedy said it is still too early to say whether absentee voting will exceed 2008 numbers.

In-person absentee voting in the clerk’s office ended on Nov. 2. Mail-in absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received in the municipal clerk’s office by 4 p.m. this coming Friday in order to be counted.

Elections division administrator Nat Robinson urged the majority of voters who are going to the polls today to be prepared by visiting 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.

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