The Town of Pleasant Spring's Aug. 11 primary

Plexiglass separates voters from poll workers during the primary.

A little less than 30% of Stoughton area residents voted in the Tuesday, Aug. 11, partisan primary election – but the vast majority of them did so with an absentee ballot for the second election in a row.

Following a trend started in April with the prevalence of COVID-19 in Dane County, the state and the country, 77.4% of voters filled out their ballots from home, or 3,930 voters combined from the City of Stoughton and the towns of Pleasant Springs, Rutland, Dunkirk and Dunn.

Together for the August election, the five municipalities saw 29.6% voter turnout, or 5,077 votes cast out of its combined 17,053 registered voters.

The rate of voting ranged between 24% in the Town of Dunkirk to 31% in the Town of Dunn. In the Town of Dunkirk, 330 voters participated in the Aug. 11 election, out of 1,375 registered voters, and in the Town of Dunn, 1,125 votes were cast out of 3,634 registered voters.

In the City of Stoughton, 2,568 people out of 8,305 voters, or 30.9%, voted; in the Town of Rutland, 361 people out of 1,423 registered voters, or 28.3%, voted; in the Town of Pleasant Springs, 693 people participated, or 29.9%, out of 2,316 voters.

The rate of absentee voting ranged from 60.6% in Dunkirk to 82.4% in the City of Stoughton. In the other towns, the rate of absentee voting was solidly in the 70% range, with Rutland having 70% absentee voting, Town of Pleasant Springs having 70.3% and Town of Dunn at 77.7%.

Those numbers closely reflect the percentage of Stoughton area voters who participated in the April 7 election – during that election, as the state was in the middle of its Safer at Home mandate, 79% of voters submitted their ballots as absentee.

Of the absentee ballots sent out by both the city and the town, 71.2% of the 5,522 were returned.

Stoughton area voters had only one contested race to vote for in the Aug. 11 election. The City of Stoughton, and towns of Dunn, Dunkirk and Pleasant Springs had a contested race for the state’s 16th Senate district, between Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) and Monona Grove school board president Andrew McKinney (D-Cottage Grove).

Sargent, who won, received 2,848 votes from Stoughton area voters, and McKinney got 751. Throughout the district, Sargent received 27,717 votes, while McKinney tallied 8,328.

The overall participation rate in the April election was higher, coming in close to 55% of Stoughton area residents who voted. That election featured a presidential primary and a contested school board race, as well as uncontested alder and board trustee races and a state-wide Supreme Court justice contest.

Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at and follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wethal.