How To Follow Election Results
Where to check results. And why you should be patient. Election officials say it will take until Wednesday to count all votes.
For Tuesday’s election, voter turnout is expected to be high, potentially even at historic levels, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
More people have voted absentee during this election than ever before. But because of state rules governing how absentee ballots are counted, election officials aren’t expecting to finish counting ballots until Wednesday morning.
During a media briefing Monday afternoon, election officials and county clerks from Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin asked the public for patience.
More than 2 million absentee ballots have been issued across the state, and 91% of them have been returned. And of those, 16% or 345,859 were in Milwaukee County. “This is quite a large undertaking to process those,” said Milwaukee County Clerk George L. Christenson.
In Milwaukee County, there are 19 municipalities and eight of them use central count facilities — like the City of Milwaukee does — to process their absentee ballots. A central count facility processes and counts absentee ballots in one facility rather than at each individual polling place, said Julietta Henry, Milwaukee County elections director.
The city has 12 high-speed machines that can process 1,000 to 2,000 ballots an hour. Other county municipalities have machines that count up to 500 ballots an hour, Henry said.
Christenson said election officials are estimating that it will take 18-23 hours from when polls open at 7 a.m. for all the absentee ballots to be counted. Absentee ballots will be the last votes to be represented in the unofficial results because they cannot be reported until all in-person ballots from a municipality are in.
Meagan Wolfe, elections administrator for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said that results not coming until Wednesday morning is a good sign. It means election officials are counting every ballot. “At no point will election officials sacrifice accuracy for speed,” she said.
Christenson estimates that approximately 89% of registered voters in Milwaukee County will vote in this election. And Henry said they are estimating 33% of voters will cast a ballot in person on election day.
Staffing at the polls will not be an issue tomorrow, Wolfe said. The state has recruited enough election workers, she said, and an additional backup pool of workers will be on standby in case there are no-shows.
Where To Watch Election Results
Milwaukee County will update its unofficial results throughout the night on this webpage.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission will provide links to the 72 counties unofficial results on their homepage on election day.
The City of Milwaukee is setting up two livestreams at their central county facility, which will also play on the City Channel. This webpage tells you where you can access the City Channel. And there are two livestreams that the city will run on Youtube. You can access them here and here.
Mayor Tom Barrett and Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director for the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, will hold three election updates throughout the day to discuss how voters can cast their ballot, how the election is proceeding and what to expect in the days and weeks that follow. These updates will livestreamed on the central count livestreams above, as well as the city election commission’s Facebook page here.
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Read more about 2020 General Election here