GAB expects gubernatorial recall election to shatter voter turnout record

CREATED May 29, 2012 - UPDATED: May 29, 2012

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MADISON- The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is predicting that between 60 and 65 percent of the voting age population -- approximately 2.6 to 2.8 million people -- will cast regular and absentee ballots for the Tuesday, June 5 recall election, according to a press release by the GAB.
"Wisconsin has never had a statewide recall election, which makes predicting turnout difficult," said Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the GAB.  "We typically look at history for guidance in predicting turnout. We expect turnout for this election to be much higher than the 49.7 percent turnout in the 2010 General Election for Governor, but not as high as the 69.2 percent turnout in the 2008 General Election for President of the United States."

That prediction would shatter the previous record of voter turnout in a November gubernatorial election in the last 50 years of 52.4% in 1962.

"The number of Wisconsin residents who have already requested absentee ballots or voted absentee in the clerk's office for the recall election continues to climb," said Elections Division Administrator Nat Robinson.

Wisconsin's 2011 voting age population is 4,352,762 people, according to the GAB
The GAB reports as of Tuesday, at least 130,391 absentee ballots had been issued by Wisconsin's local election officials.

To give that number some context, a total of 68,000 absentee ballots were tracked in SVRS for the May 8 recall primary. 

According to the press release, in-person absentee voting in the clerk's office runs through 5 p.m. or the close of business on Friday, June 1, whichever is later. Some clerks are offering extended hours to handle demand. Voters can find their local clerk's office address and phone number on Voter Public Access.

The deadline for clerks to receive a request for an absentee ballot by mail is 5 p.m. Thursday, May 31.  Voters who request an absentee ballot using a flier they received in the mail should double check the clerk's mailing address in the event of an error, Kennedy said.

Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, and must be received by the clerk by 4 p.m. the Friday after the election.

Brett Meili made up his mind who he's voting for  awhile ago; he argues most voters are the same, and that there isn't much the candidates can do in the next seven days to change any minds.

UW-Milwaukee political science professor Mordecai Lee says both sides will talk about several issues this week to get any traction they can with voters.  "It's sort of like throwing things against the wall, you're just not sure what's going to stick."

Mayor Tom Barrett is going after Governor Walker and the John Doe investigation.  "I think people are also starting to scratch their heads about why Scott Walker won't answer these really basic questions like who's paying his criminal defense fees," said Mayor Barrett.

While Walker is concentrating on the revised jobs numbers.  "In the last week I hope we focus on jobs, but knowing my opponent it's going to be anything but that.  They are pretty desperate right now."