The number of people taking advantage of early voting in Madison continues to increase as Election Day approaches, with nearly 50% more people casting a ballot at the City-County Building on Thursday than did on Tuesday. In fact, more voters have already cast an early ballot than did so back in the 2004 presidential election, a figure that represents more than a tenth of the city's total population.
Given the high levels of participation and interest in casting early ballots, Madison mayoral communications director Rachel Strauch-Nelson is issuing regular updates detailing turnout figures, voting instructions, and other election preparations. Here is the first update from the clerk's office:
Yesterday, 1,699 people voted at the City Clerk's office. That brings our cumulative totals to 26,428 as of this morning. In 2004, there was a total of 25,258 ballots cast before Election Day.
A quick update on voter registration. We currently have 184,096 voters registered. In 2004, we had 173,288 registered voters before the General Election.
What is electioneering?
Most people have heard that electioneering within 100 feet of the polls is prohibited, but few can explain exactly what that means. Within 100 feet of the polls, political conversations or attempts to influence voters are prohibited. This includes representatives from campaigns, but it also includes voters. However, a voter CAN wear a political pin or t-shirt in at the polling place, while they are in line to vote.
I mentioned in my last update that that all 1850 slots for poll workers on Election Day have been filled. The City Clerk has offered is busy offering trainings for all poll workers -- everything from beginners to experienced to chief inspectors. There are a total of 11 trainings for beginners, 14 for experienced poll workers and two for chief inspectors.
Quality Assurance Team
The Clerk's office is still looking for eligible voters for the new Quality Assurance Team for Election Day. Members of the Quality Assurance Team will be trained and sworn in as Election Officials. They will assist in processing the absentee ballots at the polling places on Election Day, as they time how long it takes for voters to get through the check-in line. If the line becomes long, they will call the Clerk's Office for additional staff. Throughout Election Day, the Quality Assurance Team will also verify that the number of voter slips handed out equals the number of ballots fed through the tabulator. Anyone interested in volunteering may sign up at www.cityofmadison.com/election.
Early Voting Hours Extended
Due to the demand for early voting, the City Clerk has extended hours over the weekend. We'll now be open for early voting from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday at the City County Building. On Monday, the Clerk's office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Strauch-Nelson will be continuing these updates up to Election Day, next Tuesday, November 4. With the extended hours at the city clerk's office, there are three final shots at casting an early ballot.