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Over 330,000 absentee ballots returned for Aug. 11 primary

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Posted at 10:57 AM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 11:57:38-04

WISCONSIN (NBC 26) — More than 330,000 voters statewide have returned their absentee ballots for the August 11 Partisan Primary, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

As of Monday morning, municipal clerks reported receiving 846,469 absentee ballot applications. Those clerks also reported sending 821,378 ballots and receiving 331,097 back.

While the legal deadline to request an absentee ballot is Thursday, August 6, Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief elections official, urged voters to request and return absentee ballots as soon as possible.

“We want everyone’s vote to count, so complete and mail your absentee ballot as soon as possible,” Wolfe said. “The post office advises it may take a week for mail to get from you to your clerk’s office, so don’t wait.”

Wolfe said that if voters are concerned their ballot won’t arrive at their clerk’s office in time, you should make arrangements to drop your ballot off at the clerk’s office or at the polling place on Election Day.

If you have not already returned your absentee ballot, Wolfe encourages you to make sure the return envelope is signed and properly witnessed. Witnesses are required to sign the envelope and provide and address. If either the signature or address is missing, the ballot cannot be counted.

These numbers from past Partisan Primaries put the 2020 requests into perspective:

Absentee Ballots IssuedAbsentee Ballots ReturnedTotal Ballots CastTurnoutPercent Absentee
2016101,80376,529645,61914.47%11.80%
2018128,286108,1621,041,83722.32%10.38%
2020 to-date821,378331,097NANANA

Partisan Primary turnout is normally significantly lower than general election turnout, which can be driven by whether there are any competitive statewide office or congressional office primaries on the ballot. In 2020 there are no statewide office primaries (i.e. Governor, U.S. Senator) on the ballot, which may affect overall turnout.

How to Request an Absentee Ballot

Registered voters can still request absentee ballots through MyVote Wisconsin.

It can take approximately one week for an absentee ballot to reach a voter through the mail, then also that much time for the ballot to be returned by mail, said Wolfe. By requesting and returning your ballot early you can ensure it is received by the deadline of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11.

Voters can also request absentee ballots by mailing, emailing or faxing their municipal clerk's office. You can find your clerk's contact information on MyVote Wisconsin.

Requests for absentee ballots must be accompanied by a copy of your phone ID. If you already have a photo ID on file from previous absentee requests under your current registration, you will not need to provide it again.

In-person absentee voting is also now available in municipal clerks’ offices. Local hours and locations will vary, so voters interested in voting in-person absentee should check with their clerks’ offices. Some clerks offer in-person voting by appointment only.