Initial numbers show voter turnout down nearly 16% in Madison

Vote sign

MADISON, Wis. — Unofficial numbers from the City of Madison Clerk’s Office show voter turnout was down about 16% in Tuesday’s election.

The city clerk says 87,552 ballots were submitted for the April 7th primary. That includes 61,279 absentee votes that were counted.

That count is down significantly from the April election in 2016, in which two-thirds of registered voters submitted a ballot.

The City of Madison kept 66 polling locations open Tuesday in an attempt to avoid long lines, thanks in part to volunteers and members of the National Guard who worked to make sure those locations had enough poll workers to stay open.

“The people who made this possible are truly heroes, and it’s no exaggeration to say that they may have saved lives today through their efforts,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a statement late Monday night.

While the mayor praised those who made in-person voting possible on Tuesday, she also criticized the court decisions that led to it. She says last-minute court decisions to strike down Governor Tony Evers’ order to move the election to June and a federal court decision to extend absentee voting led to confusion as to whether an election would actually be held.

“The results of this action — in both voter disenfranchisement and public health — will become more apparent in the coming days, but this much is clear right now: holding this election today was a travesty,” Rhodes-Conway said in her statement.

The city clerk’s office says it’s possible they’ll receive more absentee ballots before votes are officially counted on April 13th. Mail-in absentee votes had to be postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday and arrive by 4 p.m. Monday, April 13th in order to be considered valid.

Results from Tuesday’s election aren’t expected until after 4 p.m. Monday.