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Turnout 7.2% for Wisconsin spring primary

Rick Solem

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Poll volunteers at the Black River Beach voting site for Wards 1 and 2 in La Crosse on Feb. 16, 2021.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Turnout in Wisconsin’s spring primary election barely topped 7%, one-tenth of what turnout was just three months ago in the November presidential election.

La Crosse’s turnout for the mayoral primary was around 20%, which was three points higher than in 2013, when there was last an open seat for mayor with double-digit candidates running.

The only statewide race on Tuesday’s ballot was the nonpartisan contest for state superintendent of schools. The race drew little attention in the days leading up to the vote and the low turnout was not a surprise. Election officials had said they expected few voters to cast ballots.

Just shy of 325,000 people voted in the superintendent’s race, based on unofficial numbers. That is nearly 7.2% of the voting-age population. Turnout in the presidential election was 72%.

In 2017, the last time there was a state superintendent race, turnout was just 8.3% of the voting-age population in the primary, about 374,000 people. In 2018, when there was a primary for a state Supreme Court seat, turnout hit 12%, or nearly 542,000 people.

Jill Underly, superintendent at Pecatonica Area School District, and Deb Kerr, the former Brown Deer superintendent, advanced from the field of seven candidates in the state superintendent race. They will face each other in the April 6 general election.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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