Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Wisconsin Recall: No Upsets Yet, but Three More Votes to Go

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Wisconsin Recall: No Upsets Yet, but Three More Votes to Go

Article excerpt

Wisconsin recall votes will be held in nine districts around the state in July and August, part of an effort to unseat lawmakers from both parties over their role in the labor union wars.

The first day of Wisconsin recall voting ended Tuesday with few surprises.

In all six districts where voters are attempting to unseat Republican state senators - in protest over their support of GOP Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union budget bill - Democrats won their primary battles against "fake" Democratic opponents put up by Republicans to delay the process.

A victory by any of the "protest" candidates would have been a major upset.

Turnout was unusually high for such a strange election - a summer primary for a state Senate seat without a "real" opposition candidate.

While there's no precedent to compare it to, tens of thousands of voters turned out in all six districts. Charles Franklin, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, ran the numbers against April's state Supreme Court election, which was also seen as a proxy referendum on Governor Walker's budget legislation. That election generated twice the normal turnout.

Tuesday's turnout was 55 to 88 percent of that in the Supreme Court race, Professor Franklin says. "I find that astonishing," he adds.

The vote Tuesday was just the first of four to be held in nine districts around the state in July and August, part of an unusual and complex effort to unseat lawmakers from both parties over their role in the contentious battle over collective-bargaining powers.

The six Republicans being challenged were supposed to defend their seats Tuesday, but to buy the state senators more time, Wisconsin's Republican Party put up protest candidates in all six districts, forcing a primary and putting off a general election until Aug. …

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