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About 48% vote absentee in Wisconsin special election

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — About 48% of voters cast ballots absentee in northern Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District election, far below the statewide rate in last month’s statewide election.

Both elections went forward despite a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican Tom Tiffany defeated Democrat Tricia Zunker in Tuesday’s race to finish out the remainder of Republican Sean Duffy’s term. The seat has been vacant since September when Duffy retired.

According to preliminary results, Tiffany beat Zunker by 14 points. That is less than the 20-point margin that President Donald Trump carried the district in 2016, leading Democrats to say despite the loss it’s a sign of Democratic momentum.

Republicans say the win shows Republicans remain strong in the district that covers all or parts of 26 counties.

According to preliminary numbers, about 191,500 people out of 420,500 registered voters cast ballots. The number of registered voters does not take into account anyone who may have registered at the polls on Tuesday.

Of those who voted, more than 91,000, or 48%, case ballots absentee. In last month’s statewide presidential primary and spring general election, about 71% of all ballots cast were absentee. Turnout in April election was 34% of the voting-age population. The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Wednesday was calculating the voting-age population in the 7th Congressional District.

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