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Oneida County reports low voter turnout in primary amid pandemicSubmitted: 04/08/2020
Peter Dubois
Peter Dubois
Reporter/Anchor
pdubois@wjfw.com

Oneida County reports low voter turnout in primary amid pandemic
NEWBOLD - Wisconsin made history Tuesday as the first state to hold in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic. After a ruling for an extended absentee deadline was reversed, many voters braved the polls to exercise their right despite Gov. Evers' "Safer at Home" order.

Newbold Town Clerk Kim Gauthier never expected this outcome.

"It's an election season like I've never experienced," said Gauthier. "It's kind of unfathomable what we're going through right now."

The town of Newbold saw a substantial increase in absentee ballot requests compared to prior primary elections.

"In 2016 there were only 95 issued. In 2020 I issued 733 absentee requests," said Gauthier.



Despite a spike in mail-in voting, overall voter turnout was nearly 25% lower in Oneida County than the 2016 Wisconsin primaries. Gauthier said that turnout could have been much higher had it not been for so many last-minute rule changes.

"There were so many challenges and obstacles with this election," said Gauthier. "I just wish some decisions would have been made earlier."

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