Election Officials Report Smooth Spring Primary Election

MADISON, Wis. – Election officials across Wisconsin conducted another smooth election on Tuesday, deftly handling some minor challenges amid what appears to be one of the highest-turnout Spring Primary elections featuring a Supreme Court contest in recent years. 

“Yet again, we’re proud of the election officials across the state who have put in extra hours to ensure that every valid vote is counted,” said WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe. “We’re happy to report Tuesday’s election went smoothly and we anticipate carrying forward some of the best practices that local election officials demonstrated in responding to minor challenges.”   

According to unofficial results, approximately 20.5% of Wisconsin’s voting-age population turned out to vote. Prior Spring Primary elections with a Supreme Court contest have seen lower turnout, with 16.06% in 2020; 12.12% in 2018; and 12.96% in 2016. 

The WEC has not yet certified the results of Tuesday’s primary, meaning all preliminary election results and turnout estimates are not final. It is normal for unofficial election results to change slightly as election officials conduct canvasses to ensure an accurate vote total while completing the certification process.

The WEC does not centrally compile unofficial results. However, unofficial election results are available on county websites, and a list with links to these county election sites is available here: https://elections.wi.gov/wisconsin-county-election-websites

Without an official statewide reporting process, the most reliable and accessible source of statewide turnout estimates at this time is The Associated Press. Unofficial turnout can be calculated by adding together the unofficial votes cast in the highest-turnout statewide contest for which the AP collected data and dividing the total by the state’s estimated voting-age population. 

Unofficial results collected by the AP indicate, as of Wednesday, there were at least 960,477 votes cast in the primary for Supreme Court, which is 20.5% of the state’s estimated 2022 voting-age population of 4,676,183. Voting-age population is estimated by the Demographic Services Center of the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

The unofficial turnout figure likely represents an undercount of voters, as some voters may have chosen not to vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court primary but participate in other local contests.   

The WEC will publish official results once they have been canvassed at the local level and certified by the Commission. 

Counties must convene their boards of canvassers by 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28 to begin certifying official results. The county board of canvassers is generally made up of the county clerk and two other people. County clerks are elected on a partisan basis, so one of the other two members must be from the opposite party of the county clerk. The deadline for counties to provide certified results to the WEC is Thursday, March 2.  

In the third step of the certification process, WEC staff receive results from the counties, recheck all the counties’ numbers and combine them to arrive at totals. The statutory deadline for the Chair of the WEC to certify statewide results is Tuesday, March 7.  

Election Day Debrief

Local clerks reported few major issues on Tuesday beyond the Village of Brooklyn in Dane County needing to move its polling place and extend voting hours due to an unrelated disturbance that occurred Tuesday morning. 

The WEC commends the clerks in the Village of Brooklyn and Dane County for following procedures to efficiently move the polling place and quickly providing the public and local media with pertinent information. Agency officials said such practices are a model for addressing Election Day contingencies in the future.