G.A.B.: More than 205,000 absentee ballots cast so far for the November 4th General Election

MADISON (WITI) – More than 205,000 absentee ballots have been cast so far for the November 4th General Election, according to the Government Accountability Board.

Of the 205,269 ballots cast through Wednesday, October 29th, there were 142,057 early votes cast in clerk’s offices and there were 63,212 cast by mail or other absentee voting methods. There were 24,629 absentee ballots issued that had not yet returned.

“Ballots cast” means ballots completed and returned to the municipal clerk’s office. Those ballots are stored securely and then counted on Election Day at the polls or an alternate location.

“These are partial numbers,” cautioned Kevin J. Kennedy, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “Out of Wisconsin’s 1,852 municipal clerks, about 360 use the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) to track absentee ballots. However, those are the state’s larger municipalities, which cover 69 percent of Wisconsin’s voters.”

“We are often asked how these numbers compare to previous elections,” said Kennedy. “Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.”

Because of changes in election law moving the primary election date and changing the time period for in-person absentee voting in clerks’ offices, direct comparisons between these numbers and previous elections are difficult. Also, the number of clerks who track absentee ballots in SVRS has changed over time. Clerks tracked about 43 percent of absentee ballots in SVRS for the 2008 Presidential and General Election, compared to nearly 67 percent during the 2012 Gubernatorial Recall Election.

Here are some historical numbers of absentee ballots cast in recent elections:

Election Date Total

Turnout Total


Absentee Votes in

Clerk’s Office
11/6/2012 3,080,628 70.4% 664,597 514,398
6/5/2012 2,516,371 57.8% 265,427 153,854
11/2/2010 2,185,017 49.7% 230,744 122,712
11/4/2008 2,996,869 69.2% 647,175 NA

Statistical reports filed by clerks in 2008 did not break outs of the number of absentee votes cast in-person in the clerk’s office.

Kennedy reminded voters that 5:00 p.m. Thursday, October 30th is the deadline for most voters to request an absentee ballot by mail. There are later deadlines for military voters, hospitalized voters, and sequestered jurors.

Other important reminders about the election:

    Elections Division Administrator Michael Haas reminded voters that the deadline for voters to mail absentee ballots back to the clerk is Election Day, November 4th. Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received in the clerk’s office by 4:00 p.m. Friday, November 7th to be counted.