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Historic number of absentee ballots expected to keep election officials busy

More than 900,000 ballots have been requested by Wisconsin voters
Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 10:46 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Historic absentee numbers in the August primary are likely due to the pandemic and officials expect less people at the polls Tuesday.

“I don’t expect a lot of lines...most of the people already absentee voted,” said Rock County Clerk, Lisa Tollefson.

She says most of the work by poll workers on election day will be processing the record breaking number of absentee ballots coming in.

More than 900,000 ballots have been requested in Wisconsin and as of election eve, more than half have already been sent back.

In Rock County, more than 21,000 absentee ballots have been issued and about 14,000 returned before election day.

While mail-in voting is convenient and safe for voters amid the pandemic, Tollefson says it actually means more poll workers are needed.

“There’s actually a lot more work to processing an absentee ballot than if someone were to come into the polls and put their ballot into the machine themselves,” she said.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has been pushing to fill hundreds of slots for workers. Reid Magney says as of election eve, just under 700 poll workers were needed. “All of those slots will be filled by WI National Guard Members,” he said.

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