Wisconsin is one of the few upcoming primary states not to move its election, which is still scheduled for Tuesday, April 7th.
11 days before the election, Governor Tony Evers asked the state legislature to mail every single registered voter an absentee ballot . With about 767,000 already requested, that would mean sending out an additional 2.6 million ballots over the remaining few business days left before the election. County and municipal election officials are becoming overwhelmed with ballot requests as it is, and the state elections commission has issued a desperate call for additional election day poll workers, as a significant chunk of the existing workers are elderly.
Against this chaotic backdrop, voters have been sending absentee ballots in record numbers. As of Friday morning, the progressive bastion of Dane County has reported over 27,000 returned ballots, Milwaukee County, the largest in voter registration in the state, over 23,000, and the most crucial (for conservatives) of counties, Waukesha, has topped them all at 28,000.
It’s not just the Democratic presidential primary that is being decided on the 7th. A whole host of local offices and a state Supreme Court is on the ballot.
Supreme Court contests in the state, despite their “nonpartisan” declarations, have become a long war between conservatives and progressives, and this one will be no different. That’s where the location of returned ballots to date becomes interesting to look at.
If current absentee participation is a relevant indicator- the Republican WOW Counties (Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington) account for only 12% of the state’s registered voters, but make up 22% of returned votes so far, and Dane continues to punch above its registered voter share as outlying areas and the rural north has been slow to request and mail in ballots.
Which ideology can win the mailbox war will likely win at the ballot box- in-person voting has not yet been cancelled but won’t likely constitute a considerable portion of the vote at this rate, unless court intervention delays in-person voting.