City of Madison has returned a record 93,000 returned absentee ballots, but how will this impact election results?

MADISON, Wis. – The City of Madison has seen voters return more than 93,000 absentee ballots out of the 113,000 requested for the November election. It’s a trend of increased early voting both statewide and nationally.

“We are at unprecedented numbers,” said Madison Municipal Clerk Nikki Perez. Perez says Madison is prepared to see more than a 100% turnout of registered voters by the end of November 3.

As of Sunday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission reports the state has seen more than 1.3 million absentee ballots returned.

“What’s happened in 2020 both here and all over the country is an absolute explosion in mail voting,” said Professor Kenneth Mayer, a Political Science professor at UW-Madison. “We’ve never had quite an election like this.”

Mayer says like many states, Wisconsin is not allowed to start counting absentee ballots until Nov. 3. He says that process could be time consuming, meaning election results might not be finalized on November 3.

“It could be where the person who has the most votes on election day is actually not the candidate who winds up winning the election,” he said. “The key will be what happens as the votes are counted, that could take a couple of days.”

Perez says the City of Madison has hired 6,000 election officials. No matter the turnout, she says she’s hopeful the city will have every vote counted before the night is over.

But Mayer says other key swing states, like Florida, Arizona and North Carolina, could end up taking longer.

“There’s a good probability that we’ll know on election night, but there’s also certainly a reasonable possibility that it could be a couple of days,” he said.  “There’s a small possibility it could take longer than that. What it all comes down to is how close the election is.”