MADISON, WI – Voter turnout for Tuesday’s Spring Election could range between 13 percent and 18 percent of voting-age residents, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
Going back to 2000, the average turnout in the last 11 Spring Elections with statewide contests (not including presidential preferences primaries) is 19.3 percent.
However, since 2000 there have been just two Spring Elections similar to this one: a contested race for Superintendent of Public Instruction and a Supreme Court Justice running unopposed.
In 2001, turnout was 13.74 percent when the race for superintendent was Elizabeth Burmaster versus Linda Cross, and Justice David Prosser Jr. ran unopposed for Supreme Court. In 2005, turnout was 17.14 percent when the race for superintendent was Gregg Underheim versus Burmaster, and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley ran unopposed.
Based on that history, the Commission expects turnout will average between 13 percent and 18 percent statewide. Locally, turnout may be higher depending on local contested races and referenda.
The state’s turnout calculations are based on the voting age population, not on the number of registered voters. Some municipal clerks calculate and report turnout based on registered voters, which can lead to significant differences in the percentages. Wisconsin’s estimated voting-age population for 2016 (the latest available) is 4,461,159, according to the Wisconsin Demographic Services Center. Wisconsin currently has 3,708,673 registered voters.
Statistics on past voter turnout and current voter registration are available at http://elections.wi.gov/elections-voting/statistics.