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New state law pushes back deadline for mailing in absentee ballots

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Thanks to a new state law, you can no longer assume that Wisconsin elections are over when the polls close.

The governor and Legislature decided to push back the deadline for mailing in absentee ballots. And a close Madison School Board race hangs in the balance because 1,300 people voted absentee – and their votes won’t be counted until after 4 p.m. Friday, the deadline for local clerks to receive absentee ballots.

Until now, absentee ballots needed to be turned in by Election Day.

In Tuesday’s tally, Dean Loumas led Wayne Strong by just 279 votes out of 36,000 cast for a seat on the Madison School Board.

Madison Teachers’ Incorporated director John Matthews predicted that Loumas would win, because that’s who the union endorsed – and the union urged people leaving on spring break to vote absentee.

If the tally remains close, the loser could request a recount.

Meanwhile, there was a tie for the Town Board chairman’s post in the Dane County town of Oregon, with one absentee ballot still out.

We now know that the final vote will remain a tie – but only because WKOW-TV tracked down the absentee voter in Vancouver Canada. She said she didn’t vote in the town board race, because she didn’t know anything about the candidates.

The names of those who apply for absentee ballots are public records – but obviously, the votes themselves are private.

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