Wisconsin Election Results
Voting results in Wisconsin are announced when enough early, mail-in, and in person votes have been counted to accurately predict who will win the state.
Election Day voting in Wisconsin
Registered voters can choose to vote in person on election day in Wisconsin. Federal elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1 in even years. Federal elections can be held no earlier than November 2 and no later than November 8.
Wisconsin allows same day registration, meaning eligible first time voters can register to vote and vote on the same day.
Voters who choose to vote in person on election day must cast their ballot at the correct polling place. Voters using their designated polling station for the first time must provide a valid identification in order to vote.
Voting early and by mail in Wisconsin
Any registered voter in Wisconsin can request to vote by mail or in person at their local election office.
Wisconsin publishes the number of ballots cast early, but does not publish actual votes cast early because they won't be processed until election day. In addition, Wisconsin doesn't track a voters party affiliation, which makes it all but impossible to predict which candidate has a lead in early voting.
Wisconsin Governor, Senate, and House elections
Wisconsin votes for governor every four years at the same time as midterm elections for the House and Senate. The governor serves a four year term and there is no limit to the number of times a governor can be reelected. The longest serving governor in Wisconsin history is Tommy Thompson, who served from 1987 to 2001.
Residents of Wisconsin will vote for governor next in 2022 and then in 2026 and 2030.
Wisconsin's two Senators are in class I and III. Voters in the state will next vote for a Senator in 2022 and 2024 and then again in 2028 and 2030. Each Senator is elected to a six-year term.
There are currently 8 U.S. Representatives serving in Congress from Wisconsin, a number which may change after the 2020 census results are announced. Each Representative is elected to a two-year term.
Election day exit polls and declaring a winner
Major media organizations conduct exit polls throughout the state of Wisconsin in order to get a general idea of who may win a given election. In addition to in-person exit polls, many media organizations have begun to combine exit polls with other traditional polling methods to factor in votes cast early.
The Associated Press and Reuters are the two main organizations who call local, state, and federal elections in Wisconsin. Major media organizations and newspapers like CNN, ABC/NBC/CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and FiveThirtyEight work closely with them and also conduct their own exit polls in order to accurately report when a winner has been declared.
Early Voting and Election Polls
Wisconsin allows early voting for all federal and state elections. Voters who wish to vote early must request their ballots before a predetermined date in order to be able to vote early.
Registered voters can vote early at their local polling place during the predetermined hours they are open. Additionally, voters can drop their ballots in a secure drop box which are placed in locations throughout the state.
Every registered voter is also mailed an application for a mail-in ballot. Voters must request their mail-in ballot ahead of each election and the ballot must be received by 8:00 PM on election night in order to be counted.
Major national and local organizations conduct polls for President, Governor, Senators, and Congressmen. Some polls are conducted over landline and cellphones while others are conducted online.
Premiere Election polls
New York Times
Declaring a Winner
A winner is declared in Wisconsin when it is clear a candidate has or will have more votes than any other candidate. Typically the winner will be called by The Associated Press and/or Reuters and then relayed to the American people by local and national media outlets.
Major Wisconsin media outlets
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin State Journal
Green Bay Press-Gazette
National media outlets
New York Times
Wisconsin Recount Rules
Wisconsin law does not provide for an automatic recount if an election is close.
Candidates may also request a full or partial recount for any reason as long as they do so one day after a Presidential election and within three business days for all other elections.
The state of Wisconsin will cover the costs of a recount if the margin is less than or equal to 0.25% of the total vote, but requires a challenger to pay for the recount if the margin is higher. If a recount changes the result of an election then the state will refund the candidate who challenged the results.
No major state or federal election in Wisconsin has ever been reversed following an automatic or requested recount.
Candidates may also file a state or federal lawsuit if they feel state or federal laws were violated during the course of an election. Most election related lawsuits are settled before an election takes place, but there are occasions when the courts have gotten involved, most notoriously during the 2000 Presidential election when the U.S. Supreme Court intervened and effectively stopped a recount taking place in Florida and delivering the Presidency to George W. Bush.