President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., are in a dead heat for the presidential race that concludes today, according to several final polls, and state officials are saying the election is projected to draw a solid turnout of 70 percent in Wisconsin.
The final CNN national poll from Sunday shows Romney and Obama tied at 49 percent each, while the latest Politico/George Washington University Battleground tracking poll shows the two are tied at 48 percent as of Sunday after polling 1,000 citizens.
Additionally, the final poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released Sunday showed the candidates deadlocked at 48 percent.
Sunday, the Pew Research Center also released its final report that showed Obama at 50 percent and Romney at 47 percent, showing a slightly less close race.
Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, said the competitiveness of the race should lead to increased voter turnout at the polls today.
Reid Magney, spokesperson for the Government Accountability Board, said the estimated voter turnout in the election today in Wisconsin is at 70 percent in an email to The Badger Herald.
According to a statement from the GAB, 545,000 absentee ballots have been requested in Wisconsin as of Monday morning.
Kevin Kennedy, director of the GAB, said in the statement the early voting has been helpful to the clerks’ offices by allowing them more time to get ready for Election Day.
“It is clear absentee voting plays an important role in the election, with more than half a million people making requests during a shorter time period,” Kennedy said in the statement.
Kennedy said in the statement it is too early to predict whether early voting numbers in the 2012 election will surpass those of the 2008 election.
According to Heck, Wisconsin has traditionally had the second-largest voter turnout in the nation, second to Minnesota.
Heck said the voter turnout in 2008 was huge, with well more than three million Wisconsinites coming out to vote.
Heck attributed this to the general feeling in 2008 of “being part of history” with the first African-American candidate for president, he and added this election should see a steady voter turnout as well because it is so close.
“There has been so much excitement surrounding this race.” Heck said. “It is a very close race and every vote counts. Anytime an election is close more people vote than otherwise would.”
Heck said the fact vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is from Wisconsin and Obama has been to the state three times in the last week has added to the excitement Wisconsin is feeling as a swing state, which will hopefully cause more people to vote in the election.
According to Heck, the fact there is a close presidential race and a close race for the U.S. Senate seat will also increase voter turnout.
“In 2008, there was no Senate election.” Heck said. “It was just the presidential election drawing citizens to the polls. What has yet to be determined is if the presidential election will run ahead of the Senate election and impact the presidential race’s results, or vice versa.”