More than 18 percent of Whitefish Bay’s registered voters have already cast ballots in the upcoming general election, according to the village’s deputy clerk.
With a week left to go of early voting, the number of ballots cast by noon Monday has already exceeded those cast early in the gubernatorial recall election, said Deputy Clerk Kayla Chadwick.
The scene almost resembled the actual election in the basement of Village Hall Monday, as Chadwick and poll workers gave residents early ballots.
Those who voted early offered all different kinds of reasons: One man was going out of town on election day for a trip. One voter was a college student back in town to vote. Another man said he was having surgery next week.
What they all shared: a feeling that this presidential election was very important — important enough that they went out of their way to vote early.
Sarah Platzer, a college student at St. Norbert College in DePere, said she was in town for the weekend and decided to vote where her parents live. “They lectured me,” she said. She voted for Mitt Romney, saying that she was drawn by his business experience because her parents own a small business — a Milwaukee restaurant.
But John Donovan, who is in corporate sales, cast his ballot for President Barack Obama. Donovan said he voted early because he is going to Florida on election day. “You’ve got to vote,” he said. “It’s really important. If you don’t vote for president, I mean, c’mon ...”
Donovan said he preferred Obama’s handling of the economy and social issues, mentioning abortion and saying that “I think the economy is coming around.”
Chadwick said officials set up early/absentee voting in the basement instead of the clerk’s office upstairs due to heavy turnout expectations. Thus, they were handling voting like a normal election, dividing voters by alphabet, and so forth. Throughout the day, a steady trickle of residents came to vote early.
“Normally, we are upstairs, but we are anticipating heavy turnout,” she said. “It’s way out of the norm,” she added, of early voting, for all elections except presidential contests.
In the last presidential election, the village had more than 3,000 absentee ballots. In the gubernatorial recall election, 1,300 absentee ballots were cast. (Early voting is the same as absentee ballot voting. It’s just that some people vote early in person, and others vote early by mail).
As of noon Monday, after a week of early voting, 1,820 people had cast ballots. Absentee voting started in person on Oct. 22 and by mail on Sept. 20.
Early voting times and figures
Chadwick said that people may vote from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Friday at Village Hall, 5300 N. Marlborough Drive. There is no early voting the Monday before the Nov. 6 election or on the weekends, she said, by state law.
According to Chadwick:
- 1,484 residents have cast ballots in person already
- 336 residents have cast ballots by mail
- The village has issued 2,111 ballots thus far; some remain outstanding
- There are 9,952 registered voters in Whitefish Bay. The number of new registrants won’t be known until after the election.