Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Sets Early Voting Record
By: Keegan Kyle
November 4, 2016
Driven by a surge of early voters in Dane County and the Fox Valley, Wisconsin set a record Friday for the number of ballots received before an election day with the number still expected to grow.
More than 685,000 ballots have been received by election officials so far, exceeding the 2012 presidential election total by nearly 20,000 and the 2008 election total by about 38,000, according to state tallies.
Early voting has become steadily popular in Wisconsin elections over the past decade but the pace this year has been especially swift in Dane County, an historically Democratic stronghold, and the Fox Valley, which has a heated congressional race on the ballot.
About 23,000 more early votes have been tallied so far in Dane County this year than each of the previous two presidential elections. Populous counties near Green Bay and Appleton have also logged thousands more early votes than past elections.
Increased voter activity in liberal Dane County could spell trouble for Republican candidates competing in statewide elections Nov. 8, but not necessarily. The number of ballots received on Election Day typically far outweighs the number of early votes.
Early voting in Wisconsin’s ultra-conservative “WOW” counties — Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington — has also picked up steam in recent days. Combined, the number of early votes in the three counties is now above the 2008 election total and just below the 2012 total.
Milwaukee County, another historical stronghold for Democrats, also hasn’t seen unusually robust activity like Dane County. The number of early votes tallied so far is above 2008 but still below 2012 totals.