County should be proud of voter turnout again
By Gene Kemmeter
Voters in Portage County and elsewhere in Wisconsin deserve praise for getting out to vote Tuesday, Nov. 6, during the midterm elections, when more often than not, many voters decide to stay home. They sure didn’t in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Elections Commission officials said more than 2.67 million people in Wisconsin voted in the midterm elections – a record turnout, with 59.38 percent of the voting age population casting ballots. Every vote counts.
Portage County Clerk Shirley Simonis said county voters did even better, with 68 percent. Stevens Point City Clerk Paul Piotrowski said the city had 85.97 percent of its estimated eligible voters casting ballots, including 2,704 who registered at the polls. Other percentages in the county included village of Plover, 65; town of Hull, 59.38; village of Amherst, 69; village of Junction City, 85; and Rosholt, 72.
State elections officials said the number of votes cast was the largest ever for a mid-term election in the state and the percentage was also the highest for a mid-term compared to 55 percent in 2014, 58 percent in the 2012 recall election and under 50 percent in 2010. The turnout in presidential elections usually ranges between 67 to 73 percent.
Wisconsin was among the leaders nationally in turnout, and its voters are traditionally in that position, showing that state residents take the right to vote seriously.
Whether their candidates won or lost, the best thing about the election is that area residents went to the polls and exercised their right to vote, an opportunity helped by laws that enable residents to vote by absentee ballot ahead of the election. That allows voters to avoid potential long lines or delays at the polling place by voting ahead of time at their convenience.
Wisconsin residents took advantage of that program, with 565,591 absentee ballots received statewide for Tuesday’s election, according to the Wisconsin Election Commission’s website.
So congratulations Wisconsin voters on getting out to vote. You set an example that a lot more residents of other states need to follow. And congratulations also to local election officials and workers who help voter precincts run so smoothly.