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Village on Park polling place

Voters cast their ballot Tuesday at the Village on Park in south Madison.

Madison voters were out in full force Tuesday morning to determine key statewide races, including whether two-term incumbent Gov. Scott Walker wins re-election or if his Democratic challenger Tony Evers is successful.

At 11 a.m., with six wards yet to report, the Madison Clerk’s Office reported turnout at 29.15 percent of registered voters. The turnout number reflects some absentee ballots, which are processed throughout the day at polling places.

Madison’s mid-day turnout in 2014 was at 23 percent of registered voters and slightly higher at 25 percent in 2016, according to the clerk’s office.

Elaine Staley, a chief election inspector working at the Village on Park polling place, said the South Park Street location had seen about 90 voters as of 9 a.m. Staley said normally it takes a full day to reach that kind of turnout in the city’s 73rd ward.

“It’s gone like crazy,” Staley said.

In preparation for the high turnout, the city clerk’s office scheduled 2,800 poll workers to staff voting locations across the city. Additionally, there is a “rapid response” team that is able to circulate around Madison and respond where additional support is needed.

At Sequoya Library on Tokay Boulevard, chief election inspector Gary Poulson reported unusual crowds earlier in the day. He said 40 percent of registered voters in Ward 79 had already returned absentee ballots.

Poulson said voters are turning out at “presidential election levels.”

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The number of people who voted early in-person this year more than quadrupled over the November 2014 election. By the end of Sunday, the last day to vote early, 37,338 Madison voters had filled out in-person absentee ballots. In 2014, 8,811 voters cast in-person absentee ballots.

In the 2016 presidential election, 57,260 voters cast an absentee ballot in-person ahead of Election Day.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell reported turnout in Dane County at 30 percent of registered voters as of 11 a.m.

McDonell said the number is down from previous years due to maintenance of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which is a multi-state effort to identify voters who changed their address, moved out of state or died.

Polling places are open until 8 p.m.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.