MADISON - After major issues arose during the April 2020 primary, elections officials, clerks, poll workers, advocates, and voters united to make the November 2020 election extremely successful, according to the 2020 Presidential Election Report released today by Wisconsin Election Protection and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
In preparation for the 2020 fall elections, elections officials and clerks made many improvements in the system, including the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) establishing a system allowing voters to track their absentee ballots, and many more clerks accepting returned mail ballots via drop boxes throughout the state.
These improvements were hugely popular among Wisconsin voters, and the state saw a record breaking turnout of nearly 3.3 million voters. Additionally, 41 percent of total votes were cast through absentee by mail ballot, at a higher success rate than in April:the rejection rate of absentee ballots plummeted from 1.8 percent in the April election to 0.2 percent in the November election.
For those who voted on Election Day, clerks sought to provide adequately staffed and protective polling places for November, and to a great extent, succeeded. Despite fears of Election Day disruption, most voters who chose to vote in person were able to do so without fear or intimidation.
Greater preparation and more personnel were also key to better navigating the complications of holding an election during a pandemic. Following a drop in the number of poll workers this past April, the November elections saw an increase in the number of people who signed up to work the polls. Elections staff also conveyed that they were well equipped to answer voters’ questions and concerns about voting by mail.
“We saw a huge increase in participation on all sides during November’s election, which resulted in a much smoother election process than the one we had last April, a testament to the unwavering commitment from election officials, clerks, poll workers, advocates, and voters themselves to guarantee a free and fair election in Wisconsin” said Karyn Rotker, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Wisconsin. “Our hope is that this election will serve as a new benchmark for future successful elections.”
“While the report, as always, includes recommendations for improvements that can be made, those must build upon the positive changes that were developed last year,” said Eileen Newcomer, LWVWI Voter Education manager. “We need to keep moving forward to allow deep and broad voter participation. We strongly oppose efforts to restrict voter participation, especially when many of those efforts are based upon unfounded or discredited claims of wrongdoing.”