GAB predicts 40% voter turnout April 5th; would be highest in presidential primary since 1980

MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is predicting high voter turnout of 40 percent for the Spring Election on Tuesday, April 5.

A 40 percent turnout – 1.75 million of Wisconsin’s 4.44 million eligible voters – would be the highest in a presidential primary since 1980, when 45 percent of the electorate voted.

“We expect Donald Trump to bring new voters to the polls – for and against – in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary,” said Kevin J. Kennedy, Wisconsin’s chief elections official. “We also expect the battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to continue to generate interest in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary.”

In addition, Kennedy said the contested Wisconsin Supreme Court race between Rebecca Bradley and JoAnne Kloppenburg will also bring voters to the polls on April 5.

From 1960 to 1980, turnout for presidential primaries routinely ranged between 40 and 50 percent. From 1984 to 2012, turnout has been between 22 to 38 percent. General Election percentage turnout in presidential years is usually in the high 60s to low 70s range.

Past turnout numbers are available here.

In-person absentee voting – also known as early voting – in the clerk’s office began today and ends at 5 p.m. or the close of business on Friday, April 1. There is no weekend early voting. Absentee ballots cast by mail must be postmarked by Election Day and received in the clerk’s office by Friday, April 8 to be counted.

A photo ID is now required at the clerk’s office and on April 5 for voters to receive their ballots. For more information about the voter photo ID law, visit or call 866-VOTE-WIS or 866-868-3947.

This year, Wisconsin’s voters will also choose among thousands of candidates for state and local offices.

“While most of the media attention is on the Presidential Preference Primary and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, Spring Elections are also the people’s chance to have their say about their local courts, governments and schools,” said Kennedy, director and general counsel of the G.A.B. “These local officials and referenda can have an immediate and significant effect on people’s taxes and quality of life.”

To find out which candidates and referendums they will see on the ballot, voters should visit the MyVote Wisconsin website: Registered voters can put in their name and date of birth to see what is on their ballot. Voters planning to register at the polls on Election Day can use the Address Search feature to find their polling place and see sample ballots for their city, village or town.

In addition to the current candidates in the Democratic and Republican primaries, voters will see names of several candidates who have dropped out of the race for their parties’ nominations since Wisconsin’s presidential preference ballot was finalized on January 26. Under state law there is no way to remove the name of a candidate who drops out after January 26.

Elections Division Administrator Michael Haas reminded voters who plan to register on Election Day to bring an acceptable proof of residence document with them.

“You can use a current and valid Wisconsin driver license or identification card that has your current address,” Haas said. “But there are many other kinds of documents that work as well, including property tax bills, utility bills, bank statements and paychecks.”

A full list of acceptable documents is available here.