Unofficial results for Wisconsin’s spring primary come in, absentee ballot questions persist

1,098,489 ballots in total were returned as of Monday morning out of 1,284,438

· Apr 13, 2020 Tweet

Molly DeVore/The Badger Herald

City clerks were able to start counting Wisconsin’s spring primary ballots at four Monday afternoon, though many absentee ballots’ statuses remain in limbo and crucial questions surrounding the count are unanswered. 

The Wisconsin Election Commission blog posted an update about absentee votes received so far, and their data showed that 1,296,071 ballots statewide were requested and 1,284,438 were actually sent out — 1,098,489 ballots in total were returned as of Monday morning. 

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According to unofficial results from Wisconsin Vote, Jill Karofsky is narrowly ahead of Daniel Kelly with 53% of the vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race. Kelly has about 47% of the vote with just over 50% of precincts reported in the state. 

According to a county-by-county spreadsheet, Dane County sent out 178,984 ballots and received 153,416 ballots as of this morning. Preliminary counts in Dane County have captured unofficial results with 28.3% of precincts reporting.

The reported precincts show Joe Biden leading over Sanders with 62% of the vote, and Jill Karofsky taking 74% of the vote in Dane County. As more precincts across the state begin reporting, local election results can be found as individual clerks start releasing the data on each county’s website

Marsy’s Law is predicted to pass by the ballot vote with over 76% voting yes for the amendment. The District 2 Court of Appeals race shows Lisa Neubauer ahead of Paul Bugenhagen with just over 52% of the vote and over 60% of precincts reporting, according to preliminary results from Wisconsin Vote. 

The results could not be released until at least 4 p.m. Monday due to a U.S. district court ruling, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Several rulings the day before the April 7 election resulted in the decision to delay the count. 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled Gov. Tony Evers’ Executive Order which had postponed the election, resulting in the in-person voting witnessed last week across Wisconsin. 

Additionally, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling changed part of federal Judge Conley’s decision to count ballots if received by April 13, regardless of any postmark or if they managed to get delivered after April 7. The Supreme Court ruling made it so ballots were only counted if they were hand-delivered by 8 p.m. last Tuesday or if ballots mailed were postmarked on or before April 7 and were received by 4 p.m. on April 13.

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The WEC met on Friday afternoon to try and clear up some of the confusion surrounding the rulings and counting proceeding, according to their website.

The commissioners deadlocked on the motion to allow all ballots arriving on April 8 to be counted, whether or not they were postmarked, leaving many key issues unresolved by the state’s head elections committee, according to

Additional issues arose as local clerks received many ballots that lacked clear postmarks of the date the U.S. The Postal Service accepted the mail, while other ballots came in without a postmark at all. Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on April 10 that their office received 682 ballots with no postmarks. 

As it currently stands, without more guidance from the courts or the WEC, ballots without clear or definite postmarks indicating the date of postal will not be counted.

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