Counties See High Turnout
Early afternoon returns showed Waukesha Co. turnout poised to top 64 percent and possibly break records for a gubernatorial election year, according to County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.
The gubernatorial race has been "pretty hot" and the marriage amendment has "fired some people up in the county," Nickolaus said. She said running out of paper ballots should not be a problem though as the electronic voting machines can always accommodate voters and produce a paper trail.
"If we run out of paper ballots, we always have the machines to rely on," she said.
When contacted by WisPolitics at 2:30 p.m., Brown County Clerk Darlene Marcelle said orders of 25,000 additional ballots had already been placed countywide.
Marcelle said turnout would be above 50 percent because of high interest in a Howard-Suamico school district referendum, coupled with the 8th CD and guv's race hype. Marcelle also said agreeable weather gave "no reason for people to stay home."
In Eau Claire County, Clerk Janet Loomis expects it to top the 2002 race by about 5 percentage points, aided by two high-profile Senate races and a number of last-minute guv visits. Forty-five percent of voters turned out for the last gubernatorial election.
Dane County Clerk Robert Ohlsen predicted turnout would be between 60 percent and 65 percent, with the marriage amendment expected to trump all other issues driving turnout.
"A lot of people are going out to vote (on the amendment) that normally wouldn't turn out," Ohlsen said, adding that it was "nuts" on the UW-Madison campus this afternoon. Aside from the bomb scare at Madison East High, Ohlsen said the only problem he'd heard of was the new electronic voting machines slowing down lines significantly.
Ohlsen said these machines are "more time consuming" because those who vote straight ticket also have to review their selections for each individual office before leaving the machines.
-- By Alec Loftus