The Government Accountability Board said absentee and early voting numbers are high again this election cycle, according to a statement released Thursday.
“Absentee voting continues to be robust around the state,” GAB Chief Kevin Kennedy said in the statement.
An estimated 412,611 Wisconsin voters requested absentee ballots as of Wednesday, the statement said. The number of ballots that were given in clerks’ offices was 256,277, while the numbers requested by mail or in another way was 156,334.
The statement said pre-election numbers from the 2008 presidential election are not available, but at the end of the election, out of the 2.99 million votes cast, 21 percent, or 633,610, were absentee.
The City of Madison City Clerk’s Office told The Badger Herald its office has issued 23,601 absentee ballots, and it has a total of 12,247 ballots cast in its office so far in this election.
In the 2008 election, the office issued 32,012 absentee ballots and received 17,808 cast ballots. However, in the 2008 election, there was more time for absentee voting, and these are the numbers at the end of the election, not a few days prior to it.
Legislation put into effect since the 2008 election has shortened the early voting period in Wisconsin, according to Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck. He added shortening the early voting period might decrease the numbers of voters in the election.
“That [shortened early voting period] is unfortunate,” Heck said. “It is a shame; fewer people can take advantage of the opportunity to express their choices.”
People have until today to vote early in their clerk’s office, the GAB statement said. The statement reminded voters if they wish to cast an in-person absentee ballot today, they need to be aware of their clerks’ office’s hours, as not every clerk’s office hours are the same this week.
In Madison, the hours today to vote early are from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., according to the Madison City Clerk website.
In order to help voters, Heck said Common Cause is helping run a toll-free number that people can call: 1-866-OUR-VOTE, or 1-866-687-8683. Voters can call this number with any questions they might have surrounding the voting process, what they need to bring and any other issues they are coming up with.
Election Day is Tuesday, and the GAB will release more updated absentee numbers as they receive them.