Milwaukee voter turnout 'steady,' thousands cast absentee ballots

Milwaukee elections officials said Tuesday, Feb. 21 that they're seeing voter turnout on track with previous primary elections.

Voters who spoke with FOX6 News said many people don't realize the importance of this election with many eyes on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.

  • Joseph Edwards, Washington Heights: "Each and every person should come out and vote…The Supreme Court is very important, one decision can make a difference."
  • Christopher Burns, Riverwest: "The Supreme Court is very important. There’s a lot of important issues coming up…This is how the rules are made. If you don’t like the way things are, you can change it."
  • Joseph Milton, Riverwest: "It’s rare that we have a vacancy (on the state Supreme Court.) They get to be the final deciding factor on any controversial issues."

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At Central Count on Milwaukee's south side, election workers processed thousands of absentee ballots.

"It’s been steady throughout the day," said Claire Woodall-Vogg, the Milwaukee Election Commission's executive director. "We’re estimating 15-20% voter turnout."

Milwaukee Central Count during spring primary election on Feb. 21, 2023.

Mother Nature cooperated this year, though an ice storm is in the forecast for Wednesday. Two years ago, a major winter weather event impacted voter turnout in Milwaukee, officials said. 

"We’ve had a winter storm during the spring primary two years ago, and it was one of the lowest turnout elections we had in 20 years," Woodall-Vogg said. "We’re very fortunate Mother Nature complied with us today."

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While turnout is on track with previous primaries, numbers are always lower than general elections in April or November. 

The Milwaukee Election Commission said the absentee ballots processed at central count should be processed by 9:30 p.m. It cannot start until polls close at 8 p.m.