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Polls close across Wisconsin; results wait another six days. Now what?

Poll workers in Wausau on April 7, 2020 (WSAW Photo)
Poll workers in Wausau on April 7, 2020 (WSAW Photo)(WSAW)
Published: Apr. 7, 2020 at 10:57 PM CDT
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Polls are now closed in Wisconsin after the COVID-19 pandemic

that underwent a series of evolutions before Tuesday, including several hours Monday when it was suspended until June under Governor Tony Evers' order that was later overturned by the state supreme court.

"It's been like riding a roller coaster that just won't stop," Marathon County clerk Kim Trueblood told NewsChannel 7. "We were glad to have the opportunity to vote today, because we were ready to go."

Why can't I see election results?

Elections results will be released by county clerks after 4 pm on Monday, April 13th. A federal judge ruled last week that election results will be held until then so that absentee ballots postmarked on Tuesday but received after April 7 can be collected and counted. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned an additional part of the lower court's ruling Monday evening, which had stipulated that absentee ballots postmarked after April 7 and received by April 13 could be included in vote totals.

I didn't submit my absentee ballot in time and couldn't vote in person. Can I still send it in?

Absentee ballots postmarked after April 7 will not be counted. Because of the Supreme Court's decision, the part of the lower court's ruling that would have allowed ballots postmarked after April 7 to be counted is no longer valid.

If your absentee ballot was submitted to your polling place by 8 p.m. or postmarked April 7, the Wisconsin Elections Commission says it will be counted.

How many absentee ballot requests were returned?

Updated data posted just before 9 p.m. April 7 to

show almost 1.3 million absentee ballots requested, a record-setting number after 2016's absentee ballot showing of roughly 250,000 requests. Of that 1.3 million, 77% had been returned by the time polls closed Tuesday, up from 67% Tuesday morning. However, the WEC says those numbers do not represent final tallies of returned ballots, as some clerks are still tabulating that data.

Almost 13,000 ballots requested were never sent according to that data, up from almost 10,000 ballots shown as not sent Tuesday morning. Again, while that number does not represent final data, it is representative of a number of factors, including clerks deluged with thousands of absentee ballot requests while trying to rework polling locations amid pandemic health concerns and a shortage of workers.

but show as sent, something that the WEC says could be due to postal or other issues that will have to be researched later.

I forgot a witness signature, or I sent in my ballot during the time period when a judge had suspended the witness signature requirement. Was my vote counted?

There's two parts to this answer. If a witness signature had been simply missed, voters could bring their witness in person to polls on April 7 to sign the ballot. Marathon County clerk Kim Trueblood told NewsChannel 7 on Tuesday that she had heard clerks across the county were calling voters who had missed signatures in the hopes they would be able to bring their witness to the polls to sign the ballot.

However, for ballots with an affirmation that no witness had been present to sign returned during the brief time period when it was permitted, that option was not available because there was ostensibly not a witness, the WEC explained to reporters Monday. Because voters cannot be reissued a ballot, clerks have been instructed to throw out those ballots submitted with an affirmation that a witness had not been available.

How does this election compare to past similar elections?

The 2016 April election in Wisconsin which also featured a state supreme court and presidential primary race, turned out a total of a little more than 2 million voters. Turnout across the state is not yet available for this election, but today's count of 1.3 million absentee ballot requests is not representative of in-person voting on April 7.

Have questions? Email news@wsaw.com if you'd like to see another answer on this list.

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