MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Democratic candidate Joe Biden is projected to win Wisconsin, marking a flip back to blue after the state narrowly went for President Donald Trump in 2016.

The results came in after a flood of absentee ballots were calculated from places like Milwaukee, Kenosha and Green Bay, which boosted Biden ahead of Trump. Around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, CBS News projected Biden would win the state.

Earlier in the overnight, Trump was in the lead, fueled by in-person voting results, but the more than 160,000 outstanding ballots from Milwaukee and other cities broke heavily for Biden.

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The campaigns of both Trump and Biden closely watched absentee and in-person voting for any irregularities that could make a difference.

Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes four years ago. Biden sought to put the state back in the Democratic column, where it was for a generation before 2016.

In the week leading up to the election, both Biden and Trump campaigned in parts of Wisconsin where their base is strong. Polls showed there were few undecided voters, making turning out the vote all the more vital for both sides.

WEB EXTRA: Click here for full election results.

Given the high number of absentee ballots, which take longer to process, vote counting was expected to extend into Wednesday. Just over 3 million votes were cast in 2016, and Wisconsin was on pace to exceed that turnout Tuesday, with more than 1.9 million cast early.

Early voting constituted roughly two-thirds of the total votes cast in 2016, leading to less congestion than usual at several polling places on Tuesday.

A long line formed at a polling place in West Allis, not far from a field hospital set up to handle overflow coronavirus patients. But that congestion was attributed to the consolidation of polling places in that Milwaukee suburb.

Wolfe said some polling places had longer lines due to social distancing. Voters were being asked to keep a 6-foot distance between one another due to the pandemic. Wisconsin has seen a steady rise in virus cases since September, and on Election Day set a new record high with 5,771 new cases and 52 more deaths.


The coronavirus pandemic was top of mind for many voters in Wisconsin. Forty-six percent said it is the most important issue facing the country today.

Voters also considered the economy a major issue, with 25% saying it ranked at the top.

Nine percent named health care, 5% named racism and 5% named law enforcement.

Trump visited Wisconsin several times in his campaign, warning supporters at an October rally that Democrats were trying to “destroy the American way of life.” He emphasized his law-and-order message in an earlier Kenosha visit, after the protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake there.

During his own Kensoha visit, Biden met with the Blake family and expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement.


Voters were more negative than positive in their assessments of the nation’s economy. Overall, 43% described economic conditions in the U.S. as excellent or good, and 56% called them not so good or poor.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 5.4% in September, below the national rate but 2 points higher than a year ago.

Amy Arntsen, 56, of Middleton, Wisconsin, said she voted for Biden partly because she is worried about people losing their jobs during the pandemic, and is not reassured at all by a rising stock market that the president has touted.

“The rich are getting richer but . . . the poor are getting poorer,” she said. “The way we value the stock market above people is corrupt.”

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)