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Of the 3,182 absentee ballots the City of Madison Clerk’s Office has mailed to voters for the Spring Primary, 498 have been returned to be counted.

The Clerk’s Office strongly encourages absentee voters to mail back their absentee ballots as soon as possible.

Under state law, only absentee ballots that are returned by Election Day are eligible to be processed.  The Clerk’s Office staff delivers absentee envelopes to the polls on Election Day where the poll workers at the voter’s own polling location process the ballots. 
In order for an absentee ballot to count, the absentee envelope must be sealed, the voter must sign the envelope, the voter’s witness must sign the envelope, and the witness address must be listed on the envelope.

Poll workers take three absentee envelopes at a time to check into the poll book.  Each absentee voter gets assigned a voter number, similar to the way voters at the polls are each assigned a voter number. 

After the envelopes have been assigned voter numbers, poll workers open the envelopes, remove the ballots, and insert the ballots into the tabulator to be counted.

Absentee ballots delivered to the Clerk’s Office after Election Day cannot be counted. In February 2019, 129 absentee ballots were delivered to the Clerk’s Office after Election Day, and could not be counted.

Absentee voters who have yet to return their ballot have a few options:

  • Using the postage-paid certificate envelope provided by the Clerk’s Office, mail the ballot back to the Clerk’s Office as soon as possible;
  • Drop off the ballot, sealed in its signed certificate envelope, at the City Clerk’s Office or any City of Madison absentee voting site;
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to deliver the ballot, sealed in its signed certificate envelope, to the appropriate polling place on Election Day; or,
  • Destroy the absentee ballot, and vote in-person instead.

Voters who have returned an absentee ballot to be counted may not vote at the polls on Election Day without committing a felony.

Voters may check whether the Clerk’s Office has received their ballot back in the mail by looking up their voter record at


City Hall