MADSION, Wis. (WMTV) -- Wisconsin voters are requesting a large number of absentee ballots due to COVID-19, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
As of Tuesday morning, 554,116 absentee applications have been received by Wisconsin municipal clerks, compared to 482,740 on Monday and 134,556 the previous Monday one week earlier.
“We remain encouraged that so many voters are requesting absentee ballots already, especially through the MyVote Wisconsin website,” Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief elections official said. “We want everyone who is eligible and who wants to vote to be able to do so safely."
More than 520,000 absentee ballots have already been issued, mostly by mail, according to the WEC.
“Absentee voting will also greatly reduce crowds at polling places on Election Day, which will make social distancing much easier,"
This number does not include absentee ballot requests that have not yet been entered into the state system by clerks, such as emailed requests, mailed requests or requests by voters that require the clerk to approve the photo ID.
"Meaning the number of requests may be much higher," according to the WEC.
There are several ways registered voters can request absentee ballots. If you have internet access, the easiest way is to sign up at MyVote Wisconsin, https://myvote.wi.gov.
You can see daily absentee ballot reports, including county-by-county numbers, here.
WEC is working as quickly as it can to reinstate online voter registration at MyVote Wisconsin following a federal court order late Friday requiring the WEC to reopen it until March 30, Wolfe said.
“We will reopen registration online as soon as we can make and test the changes to our systems,” Wolfe said. “This is not as simple as reposting an online form or flipping a switch. With the election underway, we need to be very careful to test this change to ensure it does not adversely affect other functions, including absentee ballot requests. We will update the public and local election officials as soon as we know when MyVote Wisconsin will be ready.”
WEC is also working to ensure clerks have enough absentee envelopes to fill demand. The agency has ordered 1.2 million envelopes (600,000 each of the inner and outer envelopes), which are scheduled for delivery mid-week. These will be express shipped to county clerks, who will distribute them to municipal clerks who need them.