TODAY – Recall Election Day!
TODAY – Recall Election Day!
Early this morning, Scott Bauer with colleagues input from Todd Richmond in Fitchburg, Dinesh Ramde in Racine and Brian Bakst in Janesville filed the Associated Press report which has been published by news sources throughout WI and the USA, “Wisconsin holds recall more than a year in making.” Another title used on this article is, “Wisconsin recall battle finally goes to voters.” FINALLY, TODAY - June 5, 2012!
WE THE PEOPLE of WI are well aware of the fact that TODAY is our Recall Election Day – aren’t we? Did YOU vote absentee? IF NOT, will YOU vote today?
TODAY is historic as noted by the AP article, “Walker is only the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall vote. The other two lost, most recently California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003. Wisconsin's recall election is a rematch of the 2010 governor's race in which Walker defeated Barrett by 5 percentage points.”
The article cites comments by several WI voters:
“Retired teacher Jan Stebbins cast her ballot early for Barrett, just as she did two years ago. She said she's been offended by Walker, not by what he's done but ‘how he's done it.’
“Stebbins can't stand the division that's emerged in the past two years.
“By Wednesday morning, she hopes the state ‘gets back to a little bit more unity,’ she said. ‘I don't know what will happen.’
“Todd Schober, a financial planner from Racine, voted for Walker in 2010 and plans to do so again on Tuesday.
"’When is this going to end?’ he asked after shaking his head and sighing. ‘I'm just going to be so glad when it's all over.’
Janesville citations, “In the working-class city of Janesville, signs on both sides of the election were scattered across the community, some just a few feet apart.
“Retired businessman Dave Flury plans to support Walker. And he's worried about what will happen if Barrett wins.
“’If Walker loses, shouldn't Republicans turn right around and recall Barrett?’ Flury asked.
“For months, voters have been inundated with telephone calls, campaign mail and television advertising. Barrett supporter John Oehrke is ready for all of it to end.
"’It doesn't really matter who wins I guess,’ Oehrke said. ‘It's all crazy.’” Is it all crazy? What do YOU think?
In the midst of this contentious RECALL ELECTION there has been a mailer which has generated state-wide criticism. Many WI voters were SHOCKED to learn that there is a PUBLIC RECORD of voting! Yes, whether a citizen votes is a public record, but NOT the content.
In response to the state-wide concerns, our WI Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) issued a press release which included a statement by its Director and General Counsel, Kevin J. Kennedy, clarifying our WI STATE LAW and the ways in which groups use the lists. If you want to read the press release, use this link, “G.A.B. Statement Regarding Greater Wisconsin Mailer.”
Considering the significance of today’s RECALL ELECTION, one gains more valuable data with analysis from Craig Gilbert in his Wisconsin Voter article published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The big recall question: How will Tuesday's electorate compare to 2010?”
Gilbert reminds us, “Every election boils down to two things: what voters think, and which voters vote.” His analysis reviews the various groups of voters, e.g., union households, youth vote (voters under 30), base vs. base (Dems vs. Reps), independents.
Gilbert notes the significance of the size of the vote today, “The size of the recall vote. Tuesday’s turnout is generally expected to be higher than the 2010 race for governor (50% of voting-age adults) but lower than the 2008 presidential election (69%).”
Putting Gilbert’s report on size of recall vote, I would cite the official RECALL ELECTION vote projection by our G.A.B. posted on May 29, 2912, “Voter Turnout Estimated at 60 to 65 percent for June 5 Recall Election.”
The GAB report provided historical information stating, “Historically, the highest voter turnout in a November gubernatorial election in the last 50 years was 52.4 percent in 1962. The highest turnout in the past decade was 50.9 percent in 2006. Wisconsin’s 2011 voting age population is 4,352,762 people. Statistics on past voter turnout and current voter registration are available at…”
The official report posted on May 29, 2012, invites readers to check the historical data of voting in WI using this link, “Elections & Voting Statistics.”
If you would like to consider the national context of our WI RECALL ELECTION today, I suggest Dan Balz’s OpEd column based on a recent Pew Research Center report, “Politics is the great divider in United States."
I think the title and promo for this column used by the Washington Post on its homepage is telling, “More than race and class, politics is the great divider: Pew finds most divisions based on political identity.”
Balz tells us that we really do KNOW what the Pew report tells us, “It hardly took another study for people to know that political polarization in this country is deeply embedded. Still, a report issued Monday by the Pew Research Center paints a particularly stark portrait of a nation in which the most significant divisions are no longer based on race, class or sex but on political identity.”
I was interested in the valuable historical perspective Balz cites, “Twenty-five years ago, the gap between Republicans and Democrats on how they assessed the scope and performance of government was six percentage points. Today it is 33 points. On support for the social safety net, what once was a 21-point gap is now 41 points. On environmental issues, the gap has ballooned from five points to 39 points.”
I was surprised to read, “The changes the report cites have taken place at a time when the percentage of Americans who describe themselves as politically independent has risen sharply. Citing data from the Gallup organization, the Pew study states that it is probably safe to say that there are more independents than at any time in the past 75 years.”
Balz closes the OpEd column asserting, “Americans may bemoan partisan gridlock in Washington, but they need only look at the report to understand the root of the problem. Polarization in Washington is not just politicians behaving badly. It reflects what is happening around the country. Partisanship has grown dramatically and shows no sign of abating in the near future.”
I agree with Balz. Do YOU?
If you need RECALL ELECTION INFORMATION, you can access the Janesville Gazette’s special ELECTION section with valuable voter information, including maps for voting and a sample RECALL ELECTION ballot, etc. You can use this link, “Election” special section of The Janesville Gazette.
I hope we KNOW the results of our WI RECALL ELECTION today tonight. If the vote is very, very close, we may not know tonight… or even for days… ABSENTEE BALLOTS do not have to be mailed until TODAY with Friday being the deadline to be received by clerks. If the margin is very close, those mailed in ABSENTEE BALLOTS could be determinative in the election results. And then, there may well be a RE-COUNT ahead. Time will tell…
Here we go…
John Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Waukesha and an advocate for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.