General State Info
- Total # of Delegates: 10
- Total Voting Eligible Population: 4,368,530
- Governor: Democrat
- State House: Republican
- State Senate: Republican
State of the Race
RCP Polling Average (10/21-11/1): Biden 51% – Trump 44.3%
Cook Political Report Rating: Lean Democrat
FiveThirtyEight Forecast (11/3): Biden is “clearly” favored to win Wisconsin
Early Voting Key Facts
- Early Voting Options: Early Voting (In Person Absentee), “Vote by Mail”
- Early Voting Dates: Early voting occurs between Oct. 20 – Nov. 1
- Absentee/Mail Ballot Processing Laws
- Deadline to Receive Absentee/Mailed Ballots: Election Day (by 8 p.m.)
- Accept Postmarked Ballots that Arrive After Election Day?: No
- Absentee/Mail Ballot Signature Requirement: Wisconsin has a signature requirement and has reaffirmed its commitment to keeping a witness requirement despite the pandemic.
- “Curing” Mail Ballots: Wisconsin is not one of the 18 states which has a curing statute.
- Recount: “A candidate may request a recount (candidate expense) if the difference in votes between the candidate and the leading candidate is not more than 1% of the total votes cast for the office (where more than 4,000 votes are cast). The petition must be filed no later than the 3rd business day, or in an election for president, no later than the 1st business day, after the state election commission receives the last statement from a county board of canvassers. The candidate must pay for the recount unless candidate is the leading candidate following the recount. (9.01)”
- According to Slate: “Once the canvassing is complete and the results are confirmed, the campaign will have one business day to request a recount. When requesting it, the candidate must cite a mistake, irregularity, or fraud that he believes justifies the recount. The justification can be a “general statement that the petitioner believes that a mistake or fraud was committed.” The same officials who canvassed the election results and the same election inspectors who worked on Election Day will conduct the recount, either using voting equipment or counting by hand. The officials will review rejected absentee ballots and provisional ballots as a part of the process. If Trump finishes within a quarter of a percentage point or less of Biden, the recount would be free for him. If it’s anything more than that, he would have to pay for it. The losing candidate could also appeal the recount in circuit court.”
Early Vote & General FAQ
- Likelihood that Wisconsin is the “tipping point” state?
- According to FiveThirtyEight’s model, there is a 5.3% chance WI is the tipping point state in 2020 (as of 11/3)
- How has Wisconsin voted in recent Presidential Elections?
- Donald Trump was the first Republican to win Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984
- What happened in the 2016 Presidential Election?
- Donald Trump (R) defeated Hillary Clinton (D): 47.22% – 46.45%
- Does it take longer to process mail-in ballots compared to in-person ballots (via early voting or on election day)?
- Yes. Not only does it take longer, but processing cannot begin until polls open, so reporting of mail-in ballots will be significantly delayed.
- Is Wisconsin well-equipped to handle the surge in mail-in ballots for the upcoming election?
- No. Wisconsin only received 146,932 mail ballots in 2016 and their election laws are not conducive to early and efficient processing and counting.
- Reasons for optimism: some of the state’s largest cities have acquired additional ballot counting machines to help with the influx of absentee ballots that will be cast before Election Day.
- What are some plausible, non-malicious voting related causes of delay that might prevent Wisconsin from calling the race on election night?
- Simply, they have not counted enough votes. Projections have the race being within as little as 5%, and the 2016 election was decided by only 0.77% of the vote.
- What are key political and elections officials/experts saying about their expectations for election night?
- Optimistic poll workers “feel confident in their ability to compile unofficial election results either the night of Nov. 3 or the early morning hours after midnight”.
- However, Gabriel Sterling, voting system implementation manager for the secretary of state’s office said that “county election officials would be overwhelmed if they had to wait until Election Day to process ballots”, as they currently do.
- Governor Tony Evers has said that he expects to know the results by “the very next day” after the election, and emphasized that WI is now better equipped to handle the surge in absentee voting : “I know there’s lots of ballots to count, but I think we’re in a much better position to count those than we have been in the past.”
- Finally, Matthew Weil, director of the elections project at the Bipartisan Policy Center noted Wisconsin as one of his three “hot spots for slow counting trouble”.
Election Night Questions
- What type of ballots will be counted first?
- Per the NYT: “No order in most places, but in-person votes could come first in 39 municipalities that count absentee ballots separately (including Milwaukee).”
- Will there be a: Red Mirage, Blue Mirage, No Mirage?
- Red Mirage
- Who will be ahead during the first return(s) on election night? Why?
- President Trump will likely be ahead during the first returns on election night. Wisconsin’s mail-in processing and counting laws are not conducive to rapidly counting what we anticipate will be 1.2 million mail ballots, and in 2016 they only counted
- Who will get more early votes?
- Vice President Biden will likely get more early votes than President Trump.
- Who will get more votes on election day?
- President Trump will likely receive more votes on election day
- Will Wisconsin be able to call the race on election night?
- This is unlikely, as the margin of victory in 2016 was only 0.77% and we only predict about 85-90% of votes will be counted within 12 hours of the polls closing.
Early Voting Statistics
- Mail Ballots Requested: 1,421,908
- Mail Ballots Returned: 1,275,019
- Early In-Person Votes: 649,819
- Total Early Votes: 1,924,838
Data as of 11/3. Source: https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/WI.html