Early voting begins statewide

Voters have until Oct. 31 to vote early in person
Early voting begins statewide

Voters headed to clerk’s offices to vote Monday, just two weeks before Election Day.

In-person absentee voting started statewide Monday morning, but in some places, like Madison, voters will see more limited hours than in the past.

Clerks reported steady turnout in many municipalities on the first day of early voting. Those who want to vote early in person can do so until Oct. 31 during the week.

Many voters said Monday they were stopping in early because they had too much to do on Election Day.

“I just seem to be backed up with so many things to do and cover and I only have one pair of hands and so much time,” said Janice Hiller, who voted early Monday in Oregon. “I decided I would take advantage of this quiet time.”

“I work that day and I wouldn’t get to the polls otherwise,” said Paul Weber, who voted early in Madison. “I came down to vote now; otherwise I wouldn’t vote.”

This is the first election where early voting hours have been limited under a new state law. Early voting can only occur between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays. In the past, the city of Madison has offered weekend and even holiday voting, which is no longer allowed.

Officials with the Government Accountability Board said that at least 69,000 absentee ballots had been issued before the start of early voting Monday by the 45 percent of municipalities that use the statewide computerized voting system. That number will likely be updated later this week.

The GAB also dispelled a “popular misperception” about absentee voting in a release Monday, saying that it isn’t true that absentee ballots are only counted if an election is close.