Absentee ballots play a greater role in the 2021 Spring Primary

In-person voting starts at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday.
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 5:20 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The polling places open Tuesday for the 2021 Spring Primary, and this year, the absentee ballot is taking a more prominent role in the voting process.

The Spring Primary typically records a low voting turnout, with roughly 10 percent of the Wisconsin voting age submitting a ballot across the state each year. The Wisconsin Election Commission expects more of the same this year.

“We tend to have lower turnout in the spring election cycle than the fall, and that’s because part of what drives voter turnout is campaign advertising,” said the WEC’s Reid Magney.

But this year, the difference is the way people vote. The Madison City Clerk sent out over 26,000 absentee ballots, with over 11,000 already returned on February 12th. In 2019, over 37,000 total people voted in Madison voted in the Spring Primary. That number includes absentee ballots because the number sent out was so low, it was not tracked as a separate tat.

Now, it is anticipated to make up the bulk of the votes in some areas. Magney contributes that rise to people applying for absentee ballots when voting in the previous election. While the way people vote this year is different, the city clerk and the Wisconsin Election Commission both anticipate voter turnout to remain the same.

The polls open in the Madison area on Tuesday, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., and if you have an absentee ballot that has not been mailed in, you can drop it off at a polling place.

On the Spring Primary ballot: The race for State Superintendent, two legislative district races, and 101 primaries for county, school district, city, village, and town officials.

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