Now’s the time to request your absentee ballot; Madison clerk prepares for spring primary, election

MADISON, Wis. — Madison election officials have started the process of preparing absentee ballots ahead of the February primary and April election.

Absentee ballots are scheduled to be mailed out next week. The initial mailing is set to include 11,000 ballots, which is a record for this type of election, according to Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said.

This comes months after Madison set a record for the number of absentee ballots requested ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

The surge in absentee ballot requests comes as more voters opt to vote via the mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Witzel-Behl said her office is prepared for a greater turnout in the primary and general election since voters are now more familiar with voting absentee.  Typical turnout is around 25% for this type of election.

We don’t have any sense yet as to what to expect for this election. So, once again, we will have to be very flexible and respond to voter demand as we begin to get more requests from voters,” Witzel-Behl said during the mayor’s weekly media briefing. 

In-person absentee voting begins Feb. 2 in Madison. These locations will have capacity limits, which could lead to longer lines.

“You may have to wait a few minutes before you are able to get inside, because, once again, we are going to be focusing on keeping everybody safe and taking a lot of precautions for COVID,”  Witzel-Behl said.

Voters are able to request an absentee ballot for each election or for the entire calendar year.

“If you want to vote absentee by mail, please do get your request in soon,” Madison Mayor Satya-Rhodes Conway added during Thursday’s briefing.

Voters will need to show identification, such as a driver’s license, to the Clerk’s Office if it is not already on file. You can find out more about acceptable forms of identification and other information about absentee voting at this website.

Those needing help obtaining an identification card can also contact the Dane County Voter ID Coalition at 608-285-2141 or at this website.