Let’s Take a Deep Dive Into How the WOW Counties Voted

Only one municipality flipped from 2016 to 2020, and the biggest changes center around turnout and third parties.

The counties ringing Milwaukee County to the west and north are so important in political circles that they have a nickname you probably heard a lot during Election Night coverage: the WOW counties.

Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties were a predictable Republican bastion in the election that ended this week with Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes swinging back to Democrats after Republican Donald Trump won them and the White House in 2016.

But there are signs of cracks in the GOP stronghold – or at least weakness for Trump.

The biggest story in the WOW counties, as across the electoral landscape, is an enormous surge in turnout. More than 41,000 more ballots were cast in 2020 than 2016, a gain of nearly 11%.

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Both Trump and the Democratic candidates increased their totals. Trump gained about 29,000 votes, and Biden received about 37,000 more votes than Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

That’s obviously a lot more than 41,000 new votes, and the rest came from a sharp decrease in third-party, independent and write-in candidates. Those folks won nearly 24,000 votes in 2016 – 6.5% of all cast in the WOW counties – but this cycle, fewer than 6,900 ballots were cast outside the Republican or Democratic parties. While both parties gained ballots, Trump’s share of the total WOW vote slipped slightly, from 60.9% to 60.7%.

Waukesha County remained Wisconsin’s biggest source of Republican votes, dwarfing the total vote of the other two WOW counties, though Trump’s vote share slipped 0.4 points there. Ozaukee County also slipped in share, 0.6 points, while Washington County remained the most uniformly red of the WOW counties, with Trump gaining nearly a point in share, from 67.4% in 2016 to 68.3% this year.

The Democratic gains were greatest in the more, um, suburban suburbs and discrete cities – as opposed to the counties’ exurbs and rural areas. Biden’s largest gain in the WOW counties was in the city of Brookfield, where he added 8 points over Clinton’s share. Biden gains of 4-6 points were more common in the WOW burbs, and those in rural areas and the southwestern part of the metro area were smaller.

Driving home just how broad the Republican grasp is on the WOW counties, only one municipality entirely within the WOW counties went Democratic this year, and it flipped to blue in doing so. That was Ozaukee County’s city of Cedarburg, where Biden won by just 19 votes out of more than 8,000 cast. Trump won Cedarburg by 8.5 points in 2016.

Following are the presidential vote tallies for every municipality in the WOW counties in 2016 (certified, recounted figures) and 2020 (preliminary figures released Wednesday).

Oh, and we listed the counties in order of vote totals and perhaps planting the seed that they will be henceforth known as the WWO (pronounced “whoa!”) counties.


RELATED: COMPARING HOW THE CITY AND EVERY MILWAUKEE SUBURB VOTED IN 2016 AND 2020 


Waukesha County

County Totals

2020: Trump 159,633 (59.6%), Biden 103,867 (38.8%), others 1.7%; total votes: 267,957

2016: Trump 142,543 (60.0%), Clinton 79,224 (33.3%), others 6.7%; total votes: 237,593

City of Brookfield

2020: Trump 14,799 (53.5%), Biden 12,434 (45.0%), others 1.5%; total votes: 27,649

2016: Trump 13,970 (56.5%), Clinton 9,144 (37.0%), others 6.6%; total votes: 24,741

City of Delafield

2020: Trump 2,970 (58.8%), Biden 1,990 (39.4%), others 1.9%; total votes: 5,054

2016: Trump 2,623 (59.4%), Clinton 1,494 (33.8%), others 6.8%; total votes: 4,417

City of Muskego

2020: Trump 11,400 (66.3%), Biden 5,576 (32.4%), others 1.3%; total votes: 17,206

2016: Trump 9,995 (65.4%), Clinton 4,412 (28.9%), others 5.8%; total votes: 15,287

City of New Berlin

2020: Trump 15,994 (57.5%), Biden 11,350 (40.8%), others 1.6%; total votes: 27,799

2016: Trump 14,439 (57.9%), Clinton 8,868 (35.6%), others 6.5%; total votes: 24,925

City of Oconomowoc

2020: Trump 6,929 (59.2%), Biden 4,563 (39.0%), others 1.9%; total votes: 11,709

2016: Trump 5,835 (60.1%), Clinton 3,222 (33.2%), others 6.8%; total votes: 9,713

City of Pewaukee

2020: Trump 6,662 (62.5%), Biden 3,837 (36.0%), others 1.5%; total votes: 10,656

2016: Trump 5,925 (63.1%), Clinton 2,874 (30.6%), others 6.2%; total votes: 9,383

City of Waukesha

2020: Trump 20,245 (51.6%), Biden 18,128 (46.2%), others 2.1%; total votes: 39,213

2016: Trump 18,246 (51.1%), Clinton 14,577 (40.8%), others 8.1%; total votes: 35,717

Village of Big Bend

2020: Trump 682 (71.1%), Biden 263 (27.4%), others 1.5%; total votes: 959

2016: Trump 540 (70.7%), Clinton 180 (23.6%), others 5.8%; total votes: 764

Village of Butler

2020: Trump 588 (56.6%), Biden 423 (40.7%), others 2.7%; total votes: 1,039

2016: Trump 560 (58.3%), Clinton 323 (33.6%), others 8.1%; total votes: 961

Village of Chenequa

2020: Trump 281 (70.0%), Biden 120 (29.9%), others 0.0%; total votes: 401

2016: Trump 250 (72.9%), Clinton 70 (20.4%), others 6.7%; total votes: 343

Village of Dousman

2020: Trump 941 (64.0%), Biden 512 (34.9%), others 1.1%; total votes: 1,469

2016: Trump 852 (65.3%), Clinton 371 (28.4%), others 6.3%; total votes: 1,305

Village of Eagle

2020: Trump 1,023 (73.6%), Biden 334 (24.0%), others 2.4%; total votes: 1,390

2016: Trump 812 (71.7%), Clinton 240 (21.2%), others 7.1%; total votes: 1,132

Village of Elm Grove

2020: Trump 2,323 (50.5%), Biden 2,188 (47.6%), others 1.9%; total votes: 4,599

2016: Trump 2,285 (53.4%), Clinton 1,706 (39.9%), others 6.7%; total votes: 4,277

Village of Hartland

2020: Trump 3,528 (58.9%), Biden 2,342 (39.1%), others 2.0%; total votes: 5,989

2016: Trump 3,231 (61.0%), Clinton 1,676 (31.7%), others 7.3%; total votes: 5,294

Village of Lac La Belle

2020: Trump 157 (64.0%), Biden 83 (33.9%), others 2.0%; total votes: 245

2016: Trump 133 (65.5%), Clinton 57 (28.1%), others 6.4%; total votes: 203

Village of Lannon

2020: Trump 540 (61.5%), Biden 330 (37.6%), others 0.8%; total votes: 877

2016: Trump 452 (63.2%), Clinton 225 (31.5%), others 5.3%; total votes: 715

Village of Menomonee Falls

2020: Trump 13,879 (54.6%), Biden 11,075 (43.6%), others 1.9%; total votes: 25,428

2016: Trump 12,614 (56.4%), Clinton 8,227 (36.8%), others 6.8%; total votes: 22,373

Village of Merton

2020: Trump 1,587 (69.8%), Biden 645 (28.4%), others 1.8%; total votes: 2,274

2016: Trump 1,404 (72.1%), Clinton 429 (22.0%), others 5.9%; total votes: 1,948

Village of Mukwonago

2020: Trump 3,122 (64.1%), Biden 1,651 (33.9%), others 1.9%; total votes: 4,867

2016: Trump 2,667 (63.3%), Clinton 1,255 (29.8%), others 6.9%; total votes: 4,211

Village of Nashotah

2020: Trump 620 (63.3%), Biden 348 (35.5%), others 1.1%; total votes: 979

2016: Trump 583 (67.2%), Clinton 238 (27.4%), others 5.4%; total votes: 868

Village of North Prairie

2020: Trump 1,072 (70.1%), Biden 437 (28.6%), others 1.4%; total votes: 1,530

2016: Trump 917 (69.7%), Clinton 325 (24.7%), others 5.6%; total votes: 1,316

Village of Oconomowoc Lake

2020: Trump 323 (72.9%), Biden 111 (25.1%), others 2.0%; total votes: 443

2016: Trump 252 (71.2%), Clinton 82 (23.2%), others 5.6%; total votes: 354

Village of Pewaukee

2020: Trump 2,990 (58.1%), Biden 2,086 (40.5%), others 1.4%; total votes: 5,149

2016: Trump 2,708 (58.8%), Clinton 1,583 (34.4%), others 6.9%; total votes: 4,608

Village of Summit

2020: Trump 2,268 (63.1%), Biden 1,269 (35.3%), others 1.5%; total votes: 3,592

2016: Trump 1,908 (63.6%), Clinton 891 (29.7%), others 6.7%; total votes: 3,000

Village of Sussex

2020: Trump 4,422 (60.5%), Biden 2,780 (38.0%), others 1.5%; total votes: 7,308

2016: Trump 3,838 (61.6%), Clinton 1,990 (31.9%), others 6.5%; total votes: 6,232

Village of Vernon

2020: Trump 3,935 (71.9%), Biden 1,464 (26.8%), others 1.3%; total votes: 5,472

2016: Trump 3,447 (68.9%), Clinton 1,298 (25.9%), others 5.2%; total votes: 5,005

Village of Wales

2020: Trump 1,227 (61.7%), Biden 720 (36.2%), others 2.0%; total votes: 1,987

2016: Trump 1,090 (62.6%), Clinton 547 (31.4%), others 6.0%; total votes: 1,742

Village of Waukesha

2020: Trump 3,938 (64.5%), Biden 2,082 (34.1%), others 1.3%; total votes: 6,102

2016: Trump 3,537 (63.8%), Clinton 1,656 (29.9%), others 6.3%; total votes: 5,541

Town of Brookfield

2020: Trump 2,580 (55.8%), Biden 1,979 (42.8%), others 1.4%; total votes: 4,626

2016: Trump 2,267 (57.1%), Clinton 1,476 (37.2%), others 5.7%; total votes: 3,968

Town of Delafield

2020: Trump 3,917 (64.4%), Biden 2,065 (34.0%), others 1.6%; total votes: 6,078

2016: Trump 3,398 (64.5%), Clinton 1,512 (28.7%), others 6.8%; total votes: 5,271

Town of Eagle

2020: 1,773 (70.1%), Biden 720 (28.5%), others 1.4%; total votes: 2,529

2016: Trump 1,496 (68.0%), Clinton 564 (25.6%), others 6.3%; total votes: 2,199

Town of Genesee

2020: Trump 3,617 (67.3%), Biden 1,693 (31.5%), others 1.2%; total votes: 5,377

2016: Trump 3,206 (66.0%), Clinton 1,314 (27.1%), others 6.9%; total votes: 4,857

Town of Lisbon

2020: Trump 5,013 (68.4%), Biden 2,227 (30.4%), others 1.3%; total votes: 7,333

2016: Trump 4,378 (66.9%), Clinton 1,755 (26.8%), others 6.3%; total votes: 6,543

Town of Merton

2020: Trump 4,288 (69.9%), Biden 1,777 (29.0%), others 1.2%; total votes: 6,136

2016: Trump 3,776 (70.7%), Clinton 1,264 (23.7%), others 5.7%; total votes: 5,342

Town of Mukwonago

2020: Trump 3,805 (71.0%), Biden 1,457 (27.2%), others 1.8%; total votes: 5,360

2016: Trump 3,372 (69.2%), Clinton 1,207 (24.8%), others 6.0%; total votes: 4,871

Town of Oconomowoc

2020: Trump 4,340 (68.3%), Biden 1,935 (30.5%), others 1.2%; total votes: 6,353

2016: Trump 3,887 (68.6%), Clinton 1,483 (26.2%), others 5.2%; total votes: 5,667

Town of Ottawa

2020: Trump 1,855 (66.7%), Biden 873 (31.4%), others 1.9%; total votes: 2,780

2016: Trump 1,647 (66.0%), Clinton 689 (27.6%), others 6.4%; total votes: 2,497


Washington County

County Totals

2020: Trump 60,235 (68.3%), Biden 26,647 (30.2%), others 1.6%; total votes: 88,254

2016: Trump 51,740 (67.4%), Clinton 20,852 (27.2%), others 5.4%; total votes: 76,757

City of Hartford

2020: Trump 5,804 (65.1%), Biden 2,973 (33.3%), others 1.6%; total votes: 8,920

2016: Trump 4,539 (63.5%), Clinton 2,177 (30.4%), others 6.1%; total votes: 7,153

City of West Bend

2020: Trump 11,316 (62.3%), Biden 6,520 (35.9%), others 1.8%; total votes: 18,157

2016: Trump 9,847 (61.4%), Clinton 5,175 (32.3%), others 6.3%; total votes: 16,038

Village of Germantown

2020: Trump 8,275 (60.2%), Biden 5,203 (37.9%), others 1.9%; total votes: 13,736

2016: Trump 7,473 (61.8%), Clinton 3,879 (32.1%), others 6.2%; total votes: 12,096

Village of Jackson

2020: Trump 3,092 (68.5%), Biden 1,342 (29.7%), others 1.8%; total votes: 4,513

2016: Trump 2,635 (67.9%), Clinton 1,028 (26.5%), others 5.6%; total votes: 3,882

Village of Kewaskum

2020: Trump 1,875 (72.4%), Biden 676 (26.1%), others 1.5%; total votes: 2,591

2016: Trump 1,573 (69.8%), Clinton 559 (24.8%), others 5.5%; total votes: 2,255

Village of Newburg

(Washington County portion only)

2020: Trump 510 (75.1%), Biden 155 (22.8%), others 2.1%; total votes: 679

2016: Trump 466 (77.3%), Clinton 110 (18.2%), others 4.5%; total votes: 603

Village of Richfield

2020: Trump 6,208 (71.7%), Biden 2,348 (27.1%), others 1.1%; total votes: 8,654

2016: Trump 5,511 (72.0%), Clinton 1,817 (23.8%), others 4.2%; total votes: 7,649

Village of Slinger

2020: Trump 2,559 (70.5%), Biden 1,012 (27.9%), others 1.7%; total votes: 3,631

2016: Trump 1,986 (68.5%), Clinton 758 (26.1%), others 5.3%; total votes: 2,899

Town of Addison

2020: Trump 1,773 (77.5%), Biden 481 (21.0%), others 1.4%; total votes: 2,287

2016: Trump 1,548 (75.5%), Clinton 400 (19.5%), others 5.0%; total votes: 2,051

Town of Barton

2020: Trump 1,454 (73.3%), Biden 505 (25.4%), others 1.3%; total votes: 1,985

2016: Trump 1,211 (70.6%), Clinton 426 (24.8%), others 4.6%; total votes: 1,716

Town of Erin

2020: Trump 2,064 (72.9%), Biden 726 (25.7%), others 1.4%; total votes: 2,830

2016: Trump 1,795 (71.2%), Clinton 584 (23.2%), others 5.6%; total votes: 2,520

Town of Farmington

2020: Trump 1,967 (78.2%), Biden 523 (20.8%), others 1.0%; total votes: 2,516

2016: Trump 1,655 (75.4%), Clinton 465 (21.2%), others 3.4%; total votes: 2,195

Town of Germantown

2020: Trump 114 (63.0%), Biden 64 (35.4%), others 1.7%; total votes: 181

2016: Trump 103 (66.0%), Clinton 49 (31.4%), others 2.6%; total votes: 156

Town of Hartford

2020: Trump 1,874 (76.9%), Biden 535 (22.0%), others 1.1%; total votes: 2,436

2016: Trump 1,624 (73.0%), Clinton 498 (22.4%), others 4.6%; total votes: 2,224

Town of Jackson

2020: Trump 2,438 (75.7%), Biden 734 (22.8%), others 1.5%; total votes: 3,221

2016: Trump 2,125 (74.7%), Clinton 573 (20.1%), others 5.2%; total votes: 2,845

Town of Kewaskum

2020: Trump 624 (78.0%), Biden 167 (20.9%), others 1.1%; total votes: 800

2016: Trump 526 (74.9%), Clinton 145 (20.7%), others 4.4%; total votes: 702

Town of Polk

2020: Trump 2,185 (76.1%), Biden 650 (22.6%), others 1.3%; total votes: 2,872

2016: Trump 1,890 (74.7%), Clinton 531 (21.0%), others 4.3%; total votes: 2,529

Town of Trenton

2020: Trump 2,517 (75.4%), Biden 778 (23.3%), others 1.3%; total votes: 3,339

2016: Trump 2,127 (72.6%), Clinton 679 (23.2%), others 4.2%; total votes: 2,928

Town of Wayne

2020: Trump 1,206 (80.5%), Biden 279 (18.6%), others 0.9%; total votes: 1,499

2016: Trump 1,001 (77.4%), Clinton 241 (18.6%), others 4.0%; total votes: 1,294

Town of West Bend

2020: Trump 2,380 (69.8%), Biden 976 (28.6%), others 1.6%; total votes: 3,409

2016: Trump 2,105 (69.7%), Clinton 758 (25.1%), others 5.3%; total votes: 3,022


Ozaukee County

County Totals

2020: Trump 33,912 (55.2%), Biden 26,515 (43.2%), others 1.7%; total votes: 61,453

2016: Trump 30,464 (55.8%), Clinton 20,170 (37.0%), others 7.2%; total votes: 54,560

City of Cedarburg

2020: Biden 4,032 (49.2%), Trump 4,013 (49.0%), others 1.8%; total votes: 8,189

2016: Trump 3,618 (50.3%), Clinton 3,009 (41.8%), others 7.9%; total votes: 7,199

City of Mequon

2020: Trump 8,781 (50.2%), Biden 8,418 (48.2%), others 1.6%; total votes: 17,476

2016: Trump 8,165 (52.4%), Clinton 6,385 (40.9%), others 6.7%; total votes: 15,593

City of Port Washington

2020: Trump 3,909 (51.0%), Biden 3,606 (47.0%), others 2.0%; total votes: 7,668

2016: Trump 3,355 (51.1%), Clinton 2,692 (41.0%), others 7.8%; total votes: 6,561

Village of Bayside 

(Portion in Ozaukee County; most residents live in Milwaukee County)

2020: Biden 59 (63.4%), Trump 33 (35.5%), others 1.1%; total votes: 93

2016: Clinton 46 (56.1%), Trump 28 (34.1%), others 9.8%; total votes: 82

Village of Belgium

2020: Trump 1,006 (70.1%), Biden 406 (28.3%), others 1.7%; total votes: 1,436

2016: Trump 826 (65.5%), Clinton 349 (27.7%), others 6.9%; total votes: 1,262

Village of Fredonia

2020: Trump 946 (68.2%), Biden 412 (29.7%), others 2.1%; total votes: 1,387

2016: Trump 828 (66.5%), Clinton 332 (26.6%), others 6.9%; total votes: 1,246

Village of Grafton

2020: Trump 4,404 (55.2%), Biden 3,442 (43.1%), others 1.7%; total votes: 7,978

2016: Trump 3,981 (56.3%), Clinton 2,581 (36.5%), others 7.2%; total votes: 7,068

Village of Newburg

(Portion in Ozaukee County; most village residents live in Washington County)

2020: Trump 46 (83.6%), Biden 9 (16.4%), others 0%; total votes: 55

2016: Trump 30 (63.8%), Clinton 8 (17.0%), others 19.1%; total votes: 47

Village of Saukville

2020: Trump 1,536 (61.3%), Biden 920 (36.7%), others 2.0%; total votes: 2,507

2016: Trump 1,371 (60.2%), Clinton 749 (32.9%), others 6.9%; total votes: 2,278

Village of Thiensville

2020: Trump 1,126 (50.0%), Biden 1,081 (48.0%), others 2.1%; total votes: 2,254

2016: Trump 1,023 (49.4%), Clinton 870 (42.0%), others 8.5%; total votes: 2,069

Town of Belgium

2020: Trump 664 (65.4%), Biden 335 (33.0%), others 1.6%; total votes: 1,015

2016: Trump 560 (61.6%), Clinton 273 (30.0%), others 8.4%; total votes: 909

Town of Cedarburg

2020: Trump 2,832 (62.3%), Biden 1,653 (36.4%), others 1.3%; total votes: 4,543

2016: Trump 2,543 (63.2%), Clinton 1,199 (29.8%), others 7.1%; total votes: 4,026

Town of Fredonia

2020: Trump 1,073 (77.8%), Biden 284 (20.6%), others 1.6%; total votes: 1,379

2016: Trump 929 (73.7%), Clinton 261 (20.7%), others 5.6%; total votes: 1,261

Town of Grafton

2020: Trump 1,935 (61.8%), Biden 1,149 (36.7%), others 1.4%; total votes: 3,129

2016: Trump 1,732 (61.6%), Clinton 876 (31.2%), others 7.2%; total votes: 2,811

Town of Port Washington

2020: Trump 675 (64.4%), Biden 359 (34.3%), others 1.3%; total votes: 1,048

2016: Trump 606 (63.5%), Clinton 282 (29.6%), others 6.9%; total votes: 954

Town of Saukville

2020: Trump 933 (72.0%), Biden 350 (27.0%), others 1.0%; total votes: 1,296

2016: Trump 869 (72.8%), Clinton 258 (21.6%), others 5.6%; total votes: 1,194

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