Absentee voting is strong in Brookfield and appears on pace to reach or exceed early voting in the 2008 presidential race.
"We've had a line almost out the door," Deputy City Clerk Renee Tadych said mid-afternoon Thursday. The city set up ballot stations in a conference room that looked like a polling site.
As of about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, a total of 7,926 absentee ballots had been requested, with 7,405 of whose returned, Brookfield City Clerk Kelly Michaels said. That compared to more than thte total of 8,820 absentee ballots cast in the 2008 presidential race.
But the 2012 presidential early voting figures are increasing by the hour. In-person early voting continues until 5 p.m. Thursday and again from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Rd.
Get polling places, voting info and candidate bios on the Brookfield Patch Election Guide
Tadych said the city was on pace to receive about 700 absentee ballots on Thursday alone.
Although new voter registrations also come in, as of mid-Thursday, the city had 28,828 active registered voters. Based on that registration figure, nearly 28 percent of registered voters had requested an absentee ballot, either at the counter or by mail, and nearly 26 percent had completed and submitted those early ballots, Michaels said.
The city has seen its early voting increase every presidential election, especially as the state has loosened the rules under which voters can cast an early ballot. Absentee voting has risen from 1,854 cast in 1996, to 3,001 in 2000, 6,120 in 2004 and more than 8,820 in 2008, city records show.
Between early voting and election-day voting at the polling sites, Brookfield has seen about 90 percent total turnout for presidential races in recent history.
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, reported that as of Thursday more than 412,000 absentee ballots had been requested statewide, according to WUWM Radio. More than half of those 256,000 went to clerks' offices, where people showed up to vote early.