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Clerks report larger turnout than usual for primary election

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - It was a busy Tuesday morning at the La Crosse County Clerk's Office as canvassers reviewed Tuesday's primary election results.

"Turnout was about 32% percent which is significantly higher than what we typically see for an August partisan primary," said Ginny Dankmeyer, La Crosse County Clerk.

Dankmeyer worked with her team accounting for the votes by comparing poll book numbers with the tape printed out from voting machines.

"We're just reviewing everything that happened to make sure that the results we post when they are final that they are final," said Dankmeyer.

Municipalities have 30 days to close out an election according to Wisconsin state law. The County does canvassing for a majority of the municipalities in La Crosse County. Dankmeyer reported that they had a major increase in absentee ballots compared to primaries from years past.

"I think a lot of that is due to the fact of the absentee ballot request form April," said Dankmeyer. "Many people requested absentee ballots for the rest of the year so people received ballots who typically would not have voted in this August election, so I think that contributed to the higher turnout that we saw. "

The city of La Crosse, which canvasses its own results, also reported high voting numbers for the primary.

"We had about 31 percent turnout for this election," said La Crosse City Clerk Teri Lehrke.

Unofficial numbers show that the city had 9,408 people vote in the primary. 6,134 of voters voted absentee. Lehrke was not surprised with the amount of absentee votes.

"What did surprise me is the number of in-person voters on August 11," said Lehrke. "I did not expect as many in-person as appeared."

As the primary wraps up, both clerks will start to prepare for November. Lehrke said the city is prepared with personal protective equipment, but they need poll workers to help.

"We do know that the numbers are going to be significantly higher, a lot more absentee ballots, a lot more voting in person. There's a lot of work to be done," said Lehrke.

"We prepare for 100% turnout plus ballots," said Dankmeyer. "We expect it to be absentee voting again so a majority of the voting will be absentee. That's how were going to prepare going forward."

Those who voted absentee can check the status of their ballot on The status will show up once the election is closed by the clerk.