MADISON — Wisconsin election officials predicted a big turnout in Tuesday’s primary — and then voters blew their number away.
Unofficial turnout was 47.4 percent, easily topping the 40 percent projected by the Government Accountability Board based on high interest in the presidential contests and a tight Supreme Court race. The GAB estimate would have been the biggest since 1980’s 45.65 percent.
Instead, voters came out in the biggest numbers since at least 1972, when George McGovern won a crowded Democratic primary and Republican Richard Nixon was pursuing a second term. Turnout then was 47.7 percent.
Tuesday’s number was calculated from the 2,106,726 ballots cast in the presidential races from a voting-age population of 4.44 million. The GAB was searching Tuesday for the exact number of the voting-age population.