Supreme Court Decision Has Wisconsin Democrats Hunting Down Every Last Vote

Gladys L. Mitchell-Walthour, a professor of public policy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, believes the negative impact of the court’s decision on Democrats may have been reduced by the educational campaigns mounted this year by the party and voting rights organizations, including the Milwaukee Urban League and Alpha Kappa Alpha, the sorority of Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee.

“These efforts may lessen the blow of the Supreme Court ruling,” she said.

Barry C. Burden, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that both Democrats and the Wisconsin Elections Commission had already been emphasizing the importance of returning ballots early.

“It has been the mantra of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin since March,” he said, noting that Wisconsin’s airwaves are inundated with announcements urging listeners to vote early. “It is every message from the national Democratic Party and the state party, telling voters, ‘Get the absentee ballot and turn it in.’”

Even so, some legitimate votes will not be counted as a result of the ruling, Dr. Burden said. “We don’t know what the number will be, but it won’t be zero,” he said.

Lester A. Pines, whose Madison, Wis., law firm, Pines Bach, represented Gov. Tony Evers in the Supreme Court case, predicted a record turnout.

“The number of people voting in Wisconsin in this election is going to be overwhelming,” Mr. Pines said. Some experts have predicted turnout as high as 3.25 million, a number that would exceed the 2016 presidential turnout by 275,000 votes.

Already, the number of votes cast is nearly 50 percent of the total 2016 vote in Wisconsin.

The state does not report the party affiliation of voters who request absentee ballots, but a look at the underlying data suggests that Democrats have taken a strong early lead, with a large percentage of the ballots coming from Democratic strongholds. Milwaukee County, for example, accounts for 43 percent of all the early votes cast.