APPLETON - Early voting in Wisconsin ended Friday.
And in the two largest cities in our area, the turnout was higher than in 2008. So what do those numbers mean and what can we learn from them heading into Election Day?
Hundreds of people came to Appleton's City Hall to cast their ballot on the last day of early voting. Many like Brian Van Linden say this election is too important to take any chances.
"I just wanted to make sure I got in and voted and I hope everyone else does too because I think it is going to be really important for our future for the next few years here to get some people in there to make a change for us," said Brian Van Linden of Appleton.
Based on early voter turnout up to Friday, many other voters agree. Appleton saw more than 9,000 absentee ballots cast in 2008. City Clerk Char Peterson expects the 2012 turnout to be slightly higher.
Green Bay residents cast more than 8,300 ballots early in 2008 and already surpassed that number by Thursday.
While absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin won't be counted until Election Day, Lawrence University political science professor Arnold Shober says a higher early voting turnout could lead to a higher voting total overall.
"High absentee voting will tend to translate into higher turnout on Election Day because it is a measure of intensity in this election," he said.
An intensity Shober says Democrats owned in 2008. Setting the bar in getting voters to the polls before Election Day. But he adds 2012 is a different story.
"One safe thing we can say is that it's not going to be dramatically in the Democrats advantage like it was in 2008, the Republican Party has sort of woken up and said we have to do this too," Shober said.
And with almost all polls showing the presidential race within the margin of error, the every vote counts mantra will be as true as ever.
"It's absolutely important to vote," said Van Linden.
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