Contrary to expectations, City Presidential Election turnout fell far short of a record; Contest results shown

By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
November 15, 2020

Complete results for the Presidential Election on November 3, 2020 are shown below. In races that were opposed, comparisons are given with the state, county, and/or district results. Some highlights:

  • City Clerk Michele Smith had anticipated that this year’s turnout would exceed that of the 2008 Obama/McCain election. This year’s turnout, however, was only 5066, compared with 7884 in 2008.
  • The percentage of absentee voting doubled compared with 2008. It may be assumed that a primary reason for this dramatic increase was related to COVID-19.
  • Election day registrations fell dramatically, from 3086 in 2008 to 1231 this year.
  • Turnout at both the Armory and the Williams Center polling places fell substantially compared with 2008. It is believed that one factor is that this year many UW-W students voted absentee from their home address. Will Hinz, Whitewater Student Government Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, told the Banner that the marketing campaign that was conducted by the Warhawks Vote Committee encouraged students to vote by mail. Mr. Hinz indicated, “I really do believe that the majority of the students did vote, and I really believe that it was voting from home by absentee.” However, since the districts that vote at the Armory are predominantly populated by long-term residents, it seems clear that participation fell among those residents as well.
  • As has been the case in all recent elections in the city, support for Democratic candidates leaned stronger than in the statewide vote, and particularly higher compared with that in Jefferson and Walworth counties.
  • Banner note: Appreciation should be expressed to City Clerk Michele Smith, Deputy Clerk Andrea Jacobs, and the many poll workers from city staff and other citizens for their conscientious work in administering this challenging election. University staff also did a great job in providing for infection control measures at the Kachel Fieldhouse.
  • Banner note: Thanks to Tom Ganser for the photos at the bottom of this post.


ArmoryWilliams CenterTotal%WI %
Absentees2544221276554.6Approx 57.9
Election day1622679230145.4
Election day registrations6665651231

TOTAL BALLOTS CAST – 2008 – Largest election turnout in Whitewater history

ArmoryUniversity CenterTotal%
Election day43361462579873.5
Election day registrations22858013086


PRESIDENTArmoryWilliams CenterTotal%WI %Jeff Co %Walw Co %
*Biden (D)2459548300759.6549.641.2539.56
Trump (R – Inc)1607329193638.4148.956.3958.76
Jorgensen (Libertarian)6914831.651.21.31.1
Carroll (Solidarity)7310.
Blankenship (Constitution)505.
CONGRESS – DISTRICT 5ArmoryWilliams CenterTotal%Dist 5 total %
Palzewicz (D)2345506285158.3539.9
*Fitzgerald (R)1702333203541.6560.1
ASSEMBLY – DISTRICT 43ArmoryWilliams CenterDist 43 total %
*Vruwink (D – Inc.)2367536290360.055.3
Drew (R)1642295193739.244.7
WALWORTH COUNTY – UnopposedArmoryWilliams CenterTotal
*Wiedenfeld (R – District Attorney – Inc.)22254712696
*Bushey (R – Clerk – Inc.) 23094732782
*Etzel (R – Inc.)22764702746
WALWORTH COUNTY – Reg. of DeedsArmoryWilliams CenterTotal%County total %
*Jacobs (R)1460228168842.961.6
Virrueta (D – Inc.)1858385224357.138.4
JEFFERSON COUNTY – UnopposedArmoryWilliams CenterTotal
*Hall (D – District Attorney – Inc.)425138563
*Jensen (R – Treasurer – Inc.376126502
*Hoffman (R – Reg. of Deeds – Inc.)376127503
*McGraw (R – Clerk – Inc.) 377129506
Nonpartisan Redistricting
ArmoryWilliams CenterTotal%County
Total %

* Candidate elected
D = Democrat
R= Republican
Inc. = Incumbent

565 out of the 679 people who voted at the Kachel Fieldhouse needed to register to vote – Photos courtesy of Tom Ganser
Each of the districts at the Kachel Fieldhouse had a huge “gymnasium” space divided off from the rest of the fieldhouse. Lori Heidenreich (L) assists a voter.
City Manager providing instructions to a voter at the Armory
Plexiglass screens were provided at the polling places in an effort to prevent any COVID-19 transmission
Bird’s eye view of the spacing at the Armory polls
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