MADISON, Wis. — Data on early voting being reported by Wisconsin municipalities sends a simple message, voters will vote when given opportunities to vote. One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross noted that record early voting is occurring in Wisconsin as a result of the organization’s successful federal lawsuit striking down Republican imposed restrictions on early voting in Wisconsin.
“The data is clear and convincing,” said Ross. “When voters are given more opportunities to vote and when voting is more convenient, more voters vote. And that’s a good thing.”
As of November 3, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, over 623,000 absentee ballots have been returned statewide, including over 490,000 votes being cast in person. According to reports, both Madison and Milwaukee, municipalities that offered expanded early voting hours and multiple early voting sites, have set early voting records before early voting closes.
Previously, state law had limited municipalities to only having one early voting location and laws passed by the Republican controlled legislature and Gov. Walker limited both the time period during which early voting could be offered to ten days before the election and limited the maximum hours for early voting.
As a result of the federal voting rights lawsuit One Wisconsin Institute, et. al. v. Thomsen, et. al., early voting limits were struck down. Some municipalities began accepting votes as early as September 26 and many offered voting in the evenings and weekends. Notably, Madison allowed voters to cast ballots at public libraries around the city.
Ross concluded, “Every legal voter in Wisconsin, no matter where they live or what candidates they support, ought to be able to vote and to have their vote counted. Our victory in court makes that more possible than ever, and going forward we’re committed to keeping that momentum to have more municipalities offer more voting hours in more voting locations across Wisconsin.”