Early, in-person absentee voting begins today throughout Wisconsin. Municipal clerks are expecting a lot of traffic.
In the last few presidential elections Wisconsin voters had three full weeks and three weekends to vote early at their local clerk's office. The legislature changed that and this year the window is just two weeks and one weekend starting today and running through November 2.
Despite the smaller window, Government Accountability Board Spokesman Reid Magney says clerks are still bracing for high numbers of early voters, "I think we're figuring it's going to be about the same. The interest in early voting or in-person absentee voting goes up every major election."
This is especially true in larger cities. Neil Albrecht is the Executive Director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission. He says there's a good chance lines for early voting there will run outside of the building some days, "We don't necessarily expect fewer people, but we feel that they will be pressed in in a much smaller period of time."
Albrecht says 32,000 people voted in-person absentee in Milwaukee in November of 2008.
In the much smaller city of New Berlin, City Clerk Kari Morgan says she's already seen signs that people are anxious to vote early, "For the past two weeks, people have been calling and coming in wanting to absentee vote in person now, not realizing that they have to wait until Monday. So we're expecting a pretty busy next two weeks with the absentee voting."
People have already been mailing in absentee ballots. Overall, the Government Accountability Board expects about one-in-five voters to vote absentee this election.