Unofficial Spring Election Turnout - 34.3% - 4/14/2020

According to unofficial results reported by the Associated Press, there were 1,551,711 votes cast in the Democratic and Republican Presidential Preference contests. At this point, that is our best estimate of the number of voters who participated in the election. Statistical reports from municipal clerks won't be available for about a month.

(The total votes cast for Wisconsin Supreme Court justice was slightly lower - 1,548,504.)

To calculate turnout, we divide the number of voters by Wisconsin's estimated voting-age population of 4,524,066, which is 34.3%.

(Remember, the state's method of reporting turnout may differ from some municipal and county clerks, who divide total voters by the number of registered voters. They do this because voting-age population numbers are not available at the ward level. However, the number of registered voters is constantly changing because of election day registration, making the true number hard to pin down.)

How does that compare to previous Spring Elections with Presidential Preference Primary votes (and recent Spring Elections without a presidential primary)?

Spring Election

Ballots Cast
























Updated municipal absentee ballot data - posted 4/13/20 9:35 a.m.

Attached below is an updated spreadsheet of municipal-level absentee ballot reports. The report ran at about 9:20 a.m. today, so the numbers will be slightly larger than the 7:30 a.m. county reports.

Remember, these numbers are based on data entered by Wisconsin clerks, some of who may still be behind because of the incredible workload they've been dealing with trying to serve the voters of our state. So, the actual numbers are likely larger than those in the spreadsheet. How much larger is impossible to say until we see unofficial election results later tonight.

Monday, April 13 - 8 a.m.

The second half of a traditional Election Day arrives at 4 p.m. today when local election officials can start posting results from April 7.

Before we get to that, here's this morning's county-by-county absentee ballot numbers.

Remember, these numbers are based on data entered by Wisconsin clerks, some of who may still be behind because of the incredible workload they've been dealing with trying to serve the voters of our state. So, the actual numbers are likely larger than those in the spreadsheet.

For those looking for absentee numbers at the municipal level, stay tuned. We hope to post an update this morning. Watch this space.

absentee status

absentee ballots returned

So, how will the ballots be tallied and how will the numbers be released? We provided clerks with guidance last week that should be helplful for the pubic and media. Read it here.

What's the best source of information? Local news organization websites that belong to the Associated Press will have AP's aggregated statewide numbers. You will find more detailed reports on county clerk websites.

How should clerks and local boards of canvassers handle questions about absentee ballots and postmarks? The WEC met late Friday afternoon and agreed on some guidance for cleks. Read it here.



Friday 2 p.m. - New absentee ballot numbers and WEC meeting today at 3 p.m.

Attached below is a spreadsheet with the latest numbers reported by municipal clerks of absentee ballot requests, ballots sent and ballots returned.

Yesterday's blog post contained important caveats about these numbers, specifically that they are reports which may not yet have caught up with the actual numbers in some municipalities. There appear to be several municipalities that have not done any data entry on how many ballots were received back. 

Also, the WEC is having a special meeting at 3 p.m. today to discuss postmarks, postal service delivery issues and canvassing. They will also discuss guidance for candidates planning to run for office in the fall about how to collect nomination paper signatures given the pandemic and social distancing requirements. Details and call-in info here:

New absentee ballot data, mailing issues, and special meeting scheduled - 10:30 a.m. Thursday

This morning we have two new absentee ballot reports.

The first is the normal daily, county-by-county report that runs automatically at 7:30 a.m. Click here.

absentee ballot status

The second is a new spreadsheet of absentee ballot data reported at the municipal level. It's attached below.

Some important things to know about the data:

  • In Wisconsin, municipal (city, village and town) clerks are responsible for absentee ballots. They receive the requests from a variety of sources (in-person, mail, email, fax and
  • The data in these reports come from records in the statewide voter registration system, where municipal clerks are required by state law to track the progress of absentee ballots. This tracking depends on data entry and on actions they take in the system, such as printing mailing labels, etc.
  • You will also notice the number of ballot requests having increased, well after the deadline for requesting a ballot has passed. This, too, is an artifact of clerks catching up on data entry.
  • As you look through the data, you will see about 70 instances of municipalities that have not reported sending or receiving any absentee ballots. These are almost certainly the result of the clerks not entering their data in the system yet. Many clerks in smaller municipalities do not have direct access to the system; they rely on their county clerk’s office to do their data entry for them. At this point, no one should assume that the clerks have not fulfilled requests based on the data (or lack of data) in the spreadsheet.

On another subject, there have been several stories about absentee ballot delivery problems with the post office. We're at a very early stages of gathering data about the situation. WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe talked about this at her media availability on Wednesday afternoon, which you can watch or listen to here. Until we know more, we don't have any additional comment.

Finally, there is a special teleconference-only meeting of the Wisconsin Elections Commission at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon. A formal meeting notice and agenda has been posted soon on our website:

Wednesday morning update - 8:15 a.m.

Good morning.

There are fresh absentee ballot numbers available from the 7:30 a.m. report here. Clerks have recorded more than 1 million absentee ballots returned.

You can see them in graphic form here.

Because clerks are prohibited from releasing election results until 4 p.m. April 13, we're getting questions this morning about where to get numbers of total voters, which can be released. The easy part of the answer is that WEC does not have them yet, and probably will not receive them from clerks for several weeks.

Those numbers are recorded at the polls on forms known as the EL-104 Inspectors' Statement. You can find a blank form at the link. 

Inspectors' Statements are returned to the Municipal Clerks' offices along with other documentation from the polling place. They are public records, and can be requested from municipal clerks. Some municipal clerks and the Milwaukee City Election Commission are reporting their numbers.

At their discretion, some county clerks may be gathering this information from municipal clerks, but there is no requirement for them to do so.


Absentee Ballot Numbers from End of Election Day - 8:45 p.m.

Normally at this time of night the media, political junkies and the public are chewing over the early election night returns. We don't have this tonight in Wisconsin. We also do not have total numbers of voters from polling places today.

What we do have is the attached spreadsheet, showing the numbers of absentee ballots requested, sent and returned (as recorded in the statewide voter system) at 8 p.m. 

Remember, these numbers are based on data entered by Wisconsin clerks, some of who may be behind because of the incredible workload they've been dealing with trying to serve the voters of our state. So, the actual numbers are likely larger than those in the spreadsheet.

As of 8 p.m. there were 1,287,764 absentee ballots requests, 1,275,028 sent and 990,129 recorded as returned.

Remember, these are only the absentee ballot numbers, and do not reflect in-person ballots cast today.

absentee ballots returned


Absentee Ballots through election day


Late update - 8:15 p.m.

Polls are now closed, except in locations where people were waiting in line to vote at 8 p.m.

WEC sent an alert to all clerks at 8:00 reminding them that they cannot release results tonight and reminding them of the election night procedures memo that is posted to our website.  The posted guidance includes direction about storing and sorting absentee ballots that were received by 8 p.m. today, vs. ballots delivered after 8 and ballots returned by mail until April 13.  We have been hearing reports from jurisdictions that they are receiving ballots back, through the mail, without postmarks.  We continue to reinforce guidance that anything received by 8 p.m. is to be counted, but municipalities need to keep records and sort ballots that are returned after the deadline.  This will allow ballots to be identified by the date and manner received, especially for ballots without postmarks or with other markings that come through the post office that we may need to discuss at a future meeting prior to April 13.  
As was anticipated, many jurisdiction are reporting that they will not be processing absentee ballots tonight. Instead they will log their numbers, secure their ballot materials and machines tonight and then adjourn for the night and will reconvene tomorrow morning to process absentee ballots.


Wisconsin National Guard volunteer numbers by county - 3:30 p.m.

Here are the county-by-county numbers of the 2,409 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers and airmen who are serving at the polls today:

County WING Volunteers
Adams 24
Ashland 4
Barron 14
Bayfield 9
Brown 132
Buffalo 10
Burnett 4
Calumet 49
Chippewa 32
Clark 36
Columbia 15
Crawford 7
Dane 249
Dodge 17
Door 8
Douglas 12
Dunn 23
Eau Claire 78
Florence 0
Fond Du Lac 46
Forest 6
Grant 13
Green 45
Green Lake 7
Iowa 27
Iron 1
Jackson 13
Jefferson 45
Juneau 36
Kenosha 49
Kewaunee 9
La Crosse 54
Lafayette 9
Langlade 9
Lincoln 14
Manitowoc 23
Marathon 53
Marinette 15
Marquette 31
Menominee 1
Milwaukee 264
Monroe 40
Oconto 12
Oneida 18
Outagamie 74
Ozaukee 21
Pepin 3
Pierce 13
Polk 13
Portage 25
Price 11
Racine 50
Richland 8
Rock 31
Rusk 6
Sauk 34
Sawyer 6
Shawano 31
Sheboygan 16
St. Croix 29
Taylor 9
Trempealeau 52
Vernon 18
Vilas 2
Walworth 31
Washburn 9
Washington 53
Waukesha 102
Waupaca 19
Waushara 25
Winnebago 82
Wood 73
72 2409


Update -- 2:30 p.m.

We are not receiving reports of any major problems. The lines have been long in Milwaukee and some other places.

The majority of calls we have been receiving today are voters and clerks seeking clarification on the changes such as:

Q: If I did not yet receive my ballot in the mail, what should I do?  A: You can vote at your polls in person or if you’re are hospitalized/quarantined under doctor’s orders you can appoint an agent to deliver your ballot. 

Q: Do all absentee ballots need a witness signature?  A: Yes, they all need a signature.  If you sent your ballot without a witness signature the only remedy is for the voter and the voter’s original witness to appear at the polls to sign.

Q: Will there be election night results?  Will there be an official number of ballots returned?  A: No, there will not be results until the 13th.  There will not be a state aggregate of ballots cast/absentee returns.  The clerks have to enter this at the polls and do not enter this information until after canvass.  They may be able to get the number of ballots returned/cast from individual clerks.  

We are working on some reminders about election night procedures, in addition to the guidance we already have out. We usually do not send out a communication to clerks on election day as they are all away from their email, but we will put out some reminders that they will hopefully be able to look at when the processing starts at 8.

We have received great feedback from clerks about their National Guard members serving at the polls.  We also asked counties if they need the service members to return to help process ballots tomorrow and all but one county said no. 

We surveyed county clerks about any issues with polls being able to open or without adequate staff. Almost all 72 counties replied and none reported any issues. 

We have not heard any reports from clerks or voters of polls that were not able to open today. continues to run extremely well.  During some time periods today the traffic to the site was more than double what we experienced in February.  

Call and email volume to our office has remained very steady.