Will election results to come late this year?
Late absentee votes could decide bigger races
The radio and television political attack ads, the annoying candidate robo calls, and the bulk-mail campaign brochures, came to an end Tuesday as large numbers of Sussex and Lisbon voters marched to the polls to cast their ballots in presidential and U.S. Senate elections anticipated to be decided by razor-thin margins.
"You have got to vote to have a say," said Karl Stone, as he left the National Guard Armory on Maple Avenue, the polling place for Village of Sussex residents.
"If you have got the right to vote, then you should express your opinion by voting," added Lisa Herriges as she left Hamilton High School on Town Line Road, one of three polling places for the Town of Lisbon.
In addition to choosing between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, local voters will also choose between former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson and Madison Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Herb Kohl's decision not to seek re-election.
Lisbon and Sussex voters are also expected to re-elect Republican state lawmakers and county officials, some of them running unopposed, as well as send Republican incumbent Congressman James Sensenbrenner back to Washington for his 17th term.
Republican voters in what the GOP refers to as its WOW counties (Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington) are expected to deliver huge pluralities for Romney and Thompson to offset the big margins Obama and Baldwin are expected to gain in Democratic strongholds in Madison and Milwaukee, while the Fox River Valley area might be the deciding battleground.
Greg Treichel of the Village of Sussex was one those voters as he rattled off a list of GOP candidates he supported.
"I haven't liked the past four years. The job opportunities have not been there, the economy is in terrible shape," added Ken Kruk after he cast his ballot for Romney at Hamilton High School.
"It just came down to wanting fiscal sanity" added Bruce Marggraf of the Town of Lisbon, explaining why he voted for Romney.
Some election officials are suggesting the final outcomes of the tightly contested presidential and senatorial races may not be known for at least a week because of the number of outstanding absentee ballots.
Absentee ballots received later this week, but postmarked by election day, are scheduled to be counted next week by local election officials.
Sussex Clerk Sue Freiheit said there were about 80 outstanding absentee ballots in Sussex as of Monday afternoon.
Lisbon Deputy Clerk Sandi Gettelman said town officials were awaiting the delivery of Tuesday's mail before counting outstanding absentee ballots.
"I don't know how many there will be. But, we had 2,962 absentee ballot requests and it seems like we have most of them," she said.
Both political parties - but particularly the GOP in Waukesha County - have been using automated phone calls, direct mail and radio advertising to urge their party faithful to vote early by casting absentee ballots either by mail or in person before election day.
Despite the heavy number of absentee ballots that have already been cast - in some communities as high as 40 percent - election officials described Tuesday morning's voter turnout as "typical" for a presidential election in Lisbon, Sussex and most of Lake Country.
More than 100 voters were waiting in line when the polls at the armory opened at 7 a.m. Within minutes, a line of voters beginning inside the armory snaked its way outside and through the armory parking lot.
The lobby of Hamilton High School was packed with Town of Lisbon voters as a line extended from the voter registration desks, down a hallway, passed the main entrances to the Fine Arts Center.
Some municipal election officials were optimistic the absentee ballots could be counted during the day to avoid delays in tallying the vote after the polls closed.
But others warned that reporting vote totals could be later than usual this election because of the volume of absentee ballots that will have to be counted after the polls close at 8 p.m.
Looking for election results?
This issue of the Sussex Sun went to press before the polls closed Tuesday. Check out our website, LivingLakeCountry.com, for election stories, and watch next week's issue for a peek at local results.
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