• WisPolitics


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

 7:50 PM 

Collective bargaining, budget issue bring voters to the polls in Ripon

The City Building in Olsen's home of Ripon was doing a brisk business as poll-closing time approached.

As of 7:15 p.m., the city had hit 50 percent turnout, with a steady stream of people continuing to come in. Ripon saw 47 percent turnout in the April election.

Daniel Renghei, 57, said the collective bargaining issue motivated him to vote today. He said removing collective bargaining rights had nothing to do with balancing the state budget given that unions had agreed to the pension and health care contributions Gov. Scott Walker wanted.

“I think it was all political,” he said.

Former Ripon Mayor Dave Gray, 75, said he supported Olsen, but said the collective bargaining changes were a little more radical than he expected. But he said his sense was that Walker was trying to bargain from a high point and that Democrats lost their chance to soften the changes when they fled the state.

Mark Bethke, 55, cast his vote for Olsen today.

He said he supported the budget cuts and is against the recall.

“I don't agree with it a bit,” Bethke said.

Andrea Cumberbatch, 48, came to vote in her hospital scrubs. She said support for schools was the major issue for her.

“We need a big change,” she said.

It took three tries for Taylor Wurtz, 20 and her sister, Tiffani, 18, to register and cast a ballot.

The two had just moved from Brandon and their licenses still had their old address. The piece of mail they brought to verify their new address had a P.O. box number on it, and not a street address. The two returned about 20 minutes later with an envelope with their street address on it and were allowed to vote.

Taylor Wurtz said she went through the trouble because she though it was essential to participate.

“It's our right,” she said.

-- By David Wise

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