Election commission: Overwhelming number of absentee ballots cast by voters in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- New information has been released about voter turnout for the spring primary in Wisconsin, both in-person and absentee amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Election officials said 3/4 of residents voted by absentee ballot. To put that into perspective, in 2016, 10,000 people voted by absentee and in this election, 77,000 did.
"It definitely presented some challenges. We are not an absentee by mail state and we’re not really designed in terms of our election systems for that volume," Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht said.
Voter turnout was about 33 percent this election, with 18,804 people casting their ballots at one of the five polling places in Milwaukee.
Voter turnout surpassed both the 2008 and 2012 spring elections, but not the 2016 election.
Officials said there were a large volume of voters that reported never getting an absentee ballot. Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht said he's confident in the end result of the election in Milwaukee.
"It’s unfortunate that the election happened. I’m glad we got through it. It was certainly difficult to administer an election during a pandemic. It was unstable and chaotic and I think voters felt that. I think it prevented a lot of people from voting," Albrecht said. "So, even though I feel very positive about our turnout, I feel very disappointed and frustrated for people who never got the opportunity to cast a ballot."
One issue was the Supreme Court order never gave election officials a directive as to what to do with ballots that weren't postmarked but received. The Milwaukee Election Commission decided to count them.