Milwaukee’s sky-high voter turnout raises questions, prompts lawsuit seeking explanation

Just the News:

Wisconsin is one of 21 states that allow same-day voter registration at the polls.

More than 90 of the 400-plus voting wards in Milwaukee County, a key Wisconsin battleground where Joe Biden beat President Trump on Tuesday, recorded voter turnout of over 90% of registered voters this year, a remarkable outcome in a nation where 68% turnout this election will set a 120-year record.

Astronomical voting rates are often red flags for U.S. voter fraud watchdogs, who see highly elevated local turnout as a possible sign of election malfeasance. But Milwaukee itself is an unusual voting machine, at least for the last two presidential elections. There were many 80%-plus voter turnout wards in 2016 as well, with some over 90% that year too. And no one questioned it then.

Now a lawsuit filed Thursday by the Amistad Project is poised to explore whether the extraordinary turnout figures can be explained merely by civic-minded residents or by a political machine that should warrant suspicion.

Ward-by-ward voting data from this year’s election shows that numerous Milwaukee County voting precincts registered close to 100% voter turnout: Many saw 95% voter engagement, while more saw registered voters turn out at 90% or more. One ward saw 98% of voters cast a ballot. 

Those numbers are not without some precedent. Turnout for many of those wards in 2016 hovered around the 85%-89% range. Many broke 90%, though nowhere near as many as did this year. 

In either case, those rates for both elections, when compared to the average turnout of the U.S. populace, are astronomical: The nationwide voting rate since 2000 has ranged from 50% to about 60%. Where around five out of ten U.S. citizens vote nationwide, many areas of Milwaukee County see almost double that number. 

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