Columbia County voters turned out well and gave Tony Evers a boost in the new Wisconsin governor’s slim victory Tuesday over Scott Walker.
Statewide, Evers received about 31,000 more votes than Walker once all of Wisconsin’s 3,676 precincts had reported Wednesday. The Democrat’s projected margin of victory is just over 1 percent of the vote.
Evers’ unofficial margin of victory in Columbia County is 14,124 to 12,362 votes, or 52.3 percent of the vote compared to Walker’s 45.7 percent, with all 40 precincts reporting.
Portage voters proved even more decisive in Evers’ favor, casting 2,059 votes or 60.6 percent of the vote for the Democrat compared to Walker’s 1,336 or 39.3 percent.
“The comment I kept hearing again and again Tuesday was that this midterm election felt like a presidential election,” County Clerk Susan Moll said Wednesday of the local turnout. About 61 percent of the county’s eligible voters turned out for the election Tuesday, compared with 56 percent for midterm elections in 2014, she reported. About 68 percent of Columbia County voters had turned out for the presidential election in 2016.
“We knew turnout would be big for the school referendums and for the 42nd Assembly, where both the candidates were from the area,” Moll said, referring to school referendums in Wisconsin Dells and Poynette, which both succeeded, as well as the race in which Jon Plumer defeated Ann Groves Lloyd, both candidates from Lodi.
The 42nd Assembly race helped to bring out 74 percent of eligible voters in the town of Lodi, for example, while the Wisconsin Dells referendum likely contributed to the 76 percent turnout seen in the town of Newport, Moll said.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin experienced a more comfortable margin of victory over her Republican opponent Leah Vukmir than Evers did in Wisconsin, as she also received overwhelming support in Portage.
Statewide, Baldwin earned her second term as senator with 55.4 percent of the vote to Vukmir’s 44.6 percent, but in Portage she received 2,230 votes or 64.4 percent of the vote compared with Vukmir’s 1,232 votes or 35.5 percent.
Baldwin received 15,230 votes to Vukmir’s 11,673 in all of Columbia County, garnering 56.6 percent of the vote to Vukmir’s 43.4 percent.
Columbia County begins canvassing its votes Thursday morning, a process that needs to be completed no later than Nov. 13, Moll said. Two outstanding provisional ballots for which voters have until Friday to provide their local clerks with the proper paperwork for their votes to count have made it difficult for Moll to guess on which day the county’s votes would become official.
“Overall this election process was very smooth,” she said. “There were no incidents. We know a lot of people were getting out to vote Tuesday, and that’s a good thing.”