MADISON (AP) — From Madison to the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin elections officials are reporting strong interest in absentee voting for this year’s presidential race. In Madison, the city clerk’s office is prepared for up to 40,000 voters to cast their ballots through the mail or in-person at clerk’s offices instead of on Election Day. A record 25,000 did so in 2004 in the state capital. In the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield, about 1,000 voters have made requests for absentee ballots to be mailed to them. That’s about half as many requests the city clerk received in 2004 — and absentee voting has yet to begin.
Republican John McCain’s campaign has already sent out mailings to hundreds of thousands of voters with absentee ballot request forms addressed to municipal clerks. Charles Wastell, a 25-year-old McCain supporter in Madison, applied for an absentee ballot this week after receiving one of those mailings. ‘‘It’s going to be one of those elections with a high turnout rate, especially in Madison, so I want to avoid the lines at the polling place,’’ said Wastell, a University of Wisconsin-Madison information technology worker. ‘‘I probably wouldn’t have voted absentee had I not gotten the forms in the mail. It’s actually kinda nice.’’
‘‘We understand some people really truly need absentee ballots but some folks are just plain lazy,’’ said Brookfield City Clerk Kristine Schmidt, who is doubling her staff to eight full-time employees to handle the influx. ‘‘They don’t want to be bothered by having to stand in line.’’
WOW! We whine when people don't vote, then we whine when they DO! What exactly does Ms. Schmidt want? The manner in which someone votes is entirely choice. One does not need to absentee vote because they "can't" get out to vote. It is simply another avenue to encourage voters to participate. GET A GRIP.