Despite the high turnout for the protests, and the high number of recall petition signatures, Republicans are getting very nervous about the record turnout numbers coming out of Wisconsin.
Some Wisconsin precincts are reporting higher turnout than they had for 2008 presidential election. In Douglas County which went for Obama over McCain by a 65%-32% margin, turnout is estimated at 60%-65%. The Douglas County Clerk in Superior says that turnout could even get a little higher than 65%. Turnout is also high in the La Crosse County, which went for McCain in 2008, 49%-48%.
Milwaukee, where Democratic candidate Tom Barrett is the mayor, has had to send in extra poll workers to handle the wave of voters. In Dane County, turnout is estimated to hit 80%-88%. This development has sent The Weekly Standard into full blown hysteria, and they are already trying to spin the increased turnout as not big enough to put Barrett over the top.
The state’s Republican counties are also experiencing high turnout, but it was a statement from Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-behl that turnout could hit 119 percent that got the right wing conspiracy machine rolling.
The right has taken to Twitter to claim that this is evidence that Democrats are cheating and voter fraud is everywhere, but thanks to same day voter registration it is entirely possible to turnout go over 100% as people who show up and register the same day are not counted in the initial voter registration numbers for a precinct. In fact, CNN is reporting that polling places are running out of same day voter registration forms.
The GOP crush on Scott Walker is blinding that Republicans are oblivious and stunned by the high turnout. Their break with reality is so comprehensive that Fox News’ online propaganda machine is claiming Democrats are busing in voters from Michigan to vote in the recall. After 100,000 took to the streets in protest of Scott Walker’s union busting, and nearly a million signatures were collected on the petition to recall Walker, how could the right possibly be the slightest bit surprised by the turnout numbers? It is obvious that the pro-Walker forces are afraid that they just might lose this, and they are already making excuses ahead of their potential defeat.
We don’t know who these new voters are voting for, but these same day voters are more likely to be younger and support Democrats. (This is why Gov. Walker was so desperate to get rid of same day registration with his voter ID law). The strong turnout, and increased presence of new voters are encouraging signs for Democrats, but the Barrett camp still faces a difficult climb to victory.
It appears that Republican efforts to suppress the vote have failed, and we could have a very close election on our hands. It could be a late night in Wisconsin, but before that bridge is crossed voters must vote.
Turnout is high. Republicans are nervous, but the recall won’t be successful unless everyone who can do so votes. The polls are open until 8 PM local time. This is the moment that so many in Wisconsin have fought for, and they must continue the fight until the last ballot is cast.
The right is worried. They think Walker might lose. You’ve got them on the ropes, Wisconsin. Now, go vote and finish the job.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association