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More absentee ballots requested for partisan primary

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 7:09 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Voters in Wisconsin were back at the polls Tuesday for the second time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

There were three main races of note in Tuesday’s primary, the most prominent is in the 3rd congressional district, where three candidates are running to unseat democratic congressman Ron Kind. While you might think voter turnout would be lower than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Eau Claire deputy city clerk Nicholas Koerner says turnout was at around 12%, which he says is a very good sign. The reason for the higher turnout, according to Koerner, is a major increase in absentee ballot applications. Normally, he says an August election would have around 400 absentee ballot applications. This year, that number is over nine thousand.

Voters in Wisconsin were back at the polls Tuesday for the second time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Voters in Wisconsin were back at the polls Tuesday for the second time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.(WEAU)

“One of the big reasons is, people choose calendar year when they were applying for absentee ballots last time, so that allowed them to get the ballots for this time,” Koerner says. “Most people didn’t know there was an august election, so they meant for the presidential election. They ended up getting this one as well, so that increased voter turnout quite a bit.”

Koerner says the process of applying for and receiving an absentee ballot is vetted to ensure everyone gets only one vote.

“I have talked to some people who are concerned about voter fraud. I usually explain to them the process of getting an absentee ballot is double checked in a variety of different ways,” Koerner says. “If they get an absentee ballot they need to be registered first, if they register online they are submitting their drivers license and all that information and it is doubled checked between the states voting system and the DMV.”

Koerner says even with an increase in absentee ballots, polling sites are seeing a good turnout of in person voters as well.

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