Election 2022 notebook: Early voting pace in Monroe County looks slower than for 2018

Turnout for this year’s midterm elections would be expected to be lower than in 2020, a presidential election year.

But this year’s early voting numbers for Monroe County look like they could be also lagging behind the midterm numbers from last time around in 2018.

In 2018, about 24,500 people voted early—the combined total for absentee mailed-in ballots and in-person votes. That was nearly half of the 52,000 people who participated in the 2018 elections.

A back-of-the napkin estimate for this year’s early voting numbers—based on in-person totals so far, and the absentee mail-in ballots returned so far—would be around 16,000.

That estimate starts with the 6,033 people who had voted early through the end of the day on Friday. With 848 voters, Friday had the highest daily in-person total so far. If each of the remaining eight days of early in-person voting averages 850 voters, that would work out to about 12,800 in-person early voters this year.

On Friday, election supervisor Karen Wheeler responded to a B Square question by writing that she had sent out 3,827 absentee ballots and 2,083 of those had been returned. The last day for the circuit court clerk to receive an absentee ballot application from an applicant requesting delivery of a ballot by mail was Thursday.

If all 3,827 absentee ballots are returned, and added to the estimated 12,800 in-person voters, that comes to about 16,660 voters ahead of election day on Nov. 8.

If the split between early voters and election day voter is about 50-50, like it was in 2018, that would point to a total of about 33,000 voters this year, or around two-thirds of the turnout for 2018.

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