Voter turnout for Tuesday’s presidential election increased by more than 2,000 people on the University of Wisconsin campus but the overall state turnout was the lowest it has been in 20 years.
The number of total voters in Dane County also increased by approximately 5,000 voters.
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Kathy Cramer, director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service and a professor of political science at UW, said it is possible the boost in Dane County voters could be partially due to an increase in enrollment, but that it is difficult to determine at this point.
Campaigns and political organizations also likely played a roll in the increase of voters, Cramer said.
“There were a lot of efforts on campus to make sure students knew where to vote and how to register for an ID,” Cramer said.
Meredith McGlone, a UW spokesperson, said the university issued 7345 voter IDs in total to students without a state issued photo ID. She said on Election Day 989 were issued at polling locations throughout campus.
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Union South continued to print the plastic cards throughout the day. The university opened a plastic card printing station at Gordon Commons and printed paper documents at the six other polling stations.
“It went remarkably well,” McGlone said.
McGlone also said the university did not hear any issues concerning the the IDs. She said the clerks saw a lot of students showing up already prepared with voter IDs.
The university also provided signage at polling locations outside of campus locations, McGlone said. The signs pointed out the three closest locations to voter ID printing stations and received a lot of positive feedback, McGlone said.
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Despite high turnout in Madison, the total voter turnout across Wisconsin is the lowest its been in 20 years. Reid Magney, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Elections Commission said the state’s preliminary voter turnout for the election was 66.2 percent.
He said the 1996 turnout was 57.2 percent, but during all the other presidential elections the percentages were in the upper 60s or 70s.
Cramer said this decrease could be the result of fewer Democratic voters turning out. She said in presidential years, usually the turnout for the Democratic candidate is higher than non-presidential elections.
Cramer said Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, did well in Wisconsin in the primaries which indicates many of Democratic-leaning voters liked him as a candidate.
“Their enthusiasm just didn’t translate into enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton,” Cramer said.