A veteran elections official said today that Dane County is preparing for a record-breaking, 90-percent-plus turnout in the Nov. 4 presidential election.
The official said that the unofficial estimate is based on the number of absentee ballots requested and already cast, among other signs of high voter interest.
Election officials in Dane County are telling poll workers (election inspectors) working the second of two shifts on election day to expect a late night because absentee ballots cannot be counted until after the polls have closed, per Wisconsin law.
Poll workers can work a 6:00 AM-1:00 PM shift, a 1:00 PM-till close shift, or an all-day shift.
It's doubtful, the official said, that absentee ballots could be counted before 11:00 PM in some Dane County municipalities.
Dane County Cushion for Obama
Dane County supplied a 90,000-plus, winning margin for John Kerry, the Democratic nominee in 2004, and is expected to provide an even higher vote margin for Barack Obama this election cycle.
An analysis of the national electoral college states conducted here shows that if Virginia or North Carolina goes for Obama, Wisconsin will become a must-win state for McCain, based on current state polling numbers.
The record-breaking turnout may make a relatively early election night impossible if Dane County, usually at or among the highest in voter turnout of Wisconsin's 72 counties, has numerous wards reporting in around midnight.
The network exit polling, however, could show a Wisconsin victory for Obama shortly after the polls close, if current pro-Obama trends continue in the state.