MADISON (WKOW) — Wisconsin saw a record breaking number of voters at the polls for this year’s midterm election. The Associated Press reports nearly 2.7 million people came out, including 296,000 voters in Dane County.
As for Madison, Mayor Paul Soglin said the city had high expectations but was blown away by their 92.9 percent turnout.
“We knew it was going to be a record breaker for midterms, we figured, 71 percent was an easy goal,” he said.
With more than 145,000 pre-registered voters making it to the polls, Soglin celebrated the city’s largest turnout percentage in history and Madison was far from alone.
According to Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, the county saw nearly 40,000 more voters come out for Tuesday’s election than for the last Governor’s race in 2014.
“The numbers almost reached presidential from two years ago,” he said.
McDonell believes those 40,000 voters had a big impact.
In the two closest statewide races, Tony Evers and Josh Kaul took the lead by an even smaller margin. Evers won by just more than 30,000 votes and Kaul by about 23,000. In Dane County, both Evers and Kaul won handily, securing about 75 percent of the vote.
“I think if we had had typical turnout then the race would have ended differently last night,” McDonell said. “So the record turnout was clearly instrumental in victories for Tony Evers and Josh Kaul.”
As for what brought out all of those voters, McDonell believes the campaigns played the biggest role as did the current political climate.
“I think there were a lot of people in this county that were waiting two years to cast this vote,” he said.
Apart from that, Soglin said the clerk’s office has been working to encourage voters to come back, making the voting process simpler and quicker.
“That’s very important for first-time voters and that’s where the effort of the clerk’s office and years and years of working at this and training our poll workers comes in,” he said.
In his news conference addressing Madison’s record turnout, Soglin thanked the 2,800 poll workers and members of the city’s rapid response team for keeping lines moving and counting ballots quickly and efficiently.
With 2020 looming as a presidential year, Soglin is expecting an even higher turnout. In 2016, Madison saw 154,000 voters, Soglin hopes Madison breaks that record by at least another 10,000 votes.