Early voting off to a strong start - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Early voting off to a strong start


MADISON (WKOW) -- In-person absentee voting is off to a strong start in Wisconsin, with more than 225,000 residents requesting absentee ballots for the November 6th general election.

The Government Accountability Board released the numbers on Friday. The board said as of late Thursday, at least 225,209 absentee ballots had been issued by Wisconsin's local election officials.

The GAB says there were 101,253 ballots issued in clerks' offices, and 123,956 ballots issued by mail.
"We are seeing long lines at many municipal clerks' offices around the state," said Kevin Kennedy, Wisconsin's chief election official. "One in five ballots cast in 2008 were absentee, and we expect to see similar numbers in 2012."
Kennedy offered these tips for voters who are thinking of voting early in the clerk's office:
  • Check your 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, you may need to make an appointment.
  • Remember that voting is at municipal clerks' offices, not county clerks' offices.
  • You can find your clerk's location and contact information at My Vote Wisconsin.
  • While you are at My Vote Wisconsin, make sure your registration information is current. If it is not, you can fill out a registration form online, print it, sign it and bring it with you to the clerk's office. Your information will be waiting in the clerk's computer system.
  • If you are registering at the clerk's office, be sure to bring an acceptable proof of residence document because the open registration period ended October 17. You can find a list of documents under "Information About Voting" at the My Vote Wisconsin website.
  • Consider waiting for Election Day to vote. The lines may well be shorter, especially if you vote at off-peak times.

"In the 2008 election, there were 633,610 absentee ballots, and two-thirds were cast in the clerk's office. The numbers of absentee voters continues to grow," said Kennedy. "There could be many reasons; voter enthusiasm and convenience."

Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, and must be received by the clerk by 4 p.m. the Friday after the election.
Kennedy said there is a popular misperception that absentee ballots are not counted unless an election is close.
"Every absentee ballot that has been properly cast will be counted," Kennedy said.
The deadline for clerks to receive a request for an absentee ballot by mail is 5 p.m. Thursday, November 1. In-person absentee voting in the clerk's office runs through 5 p.m. or the close of business on Friday, November 2. Some clerks are offering extended hours to handle demand.
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