• WisPolitics

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

 11:17 AM 

Ryan says he's not thinking about 2016 run

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said Monday that he's "ruling out thinking about" running for president in 2016.

In a video posted by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the former VP candidate told reporters after his Dousman listening session that he needs to stay focused on producing good policy in Congress and that other considerations would be a distraction from that.

"I really don't think it's in my interest as a congressman to be thinking about some promotion three and a half years down the road," Ryan said. "That will cloud my judgment from doing my job today. So I have made an explicit decision: Don't think about some political campaign down the road, focus on doing my job."

 -- By Staff

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

 10:01 AM 

Tate announces he'll seek re-election as state Dem chair

Mike Tate officially announced today he'll seek another two-year term as Dem state chair.

Signs have long pointed toward Tate seeking another term to the post he first won in 2009; he announced earlier this year a "72-county strategy" for the 2014 elections that included putting paid operatives in several outstate offices.

Tate may have competition. Rowan Viva, who helped gather signatures in the recall effort against Scott Walker, has posted plans on her Facebook page to run for party chair.

Tate's announcement included a list of endorsements featuring prominent Dems such as U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan, former Congress-members Russ Feingold and Dave Obey, former Gov. Jim Doyle, state Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson, and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca.

The election will be held at the Dem state convention June 7-8 in Oconomowoc.

On the GOP side, state Chair Brad Courtney was re-appointed to a two-year term by RPW’s executive committee in December. 

-- By JR Ross

Sunday, April 7, 2013

 9:16 PM 

Marklein announces candidacy for 17th Senate District seat held by Schultz

State Rep. Howard Marklein announced today he will run for the 17th Senate District now held by fellow Republican Dale Schultz.

Marklein, who was first elected to the Assembly in 2010, said in a statement he wants to build on the achievements of the last legislative session.

His announcement refers to Schultz as a "long-time incumbent who has been in office since 1982." 

Schultz has not announced whether he'll seek re-election in 2014. 

“I am extremely humbled by the support and encouragement I’ve received from supporters to run for the Senate," Marklein said. "I am announcing my campaign to ensure that we are able to continue to build on the good work we have done.”

UPDATE: Schultz said Marklein's announcement was "not a surprise, but it was unexpected."

"After 30 years in the state Legislature, nothing surprises me anymore," Schultz said. "However, with a 98.7 percent Republican voting record, as compared to my leader in the state Senate last session, I thought that would’ve been enough to stave off a primary challenge."

Schultz did not say in his statement if he'll seek re-election in 2014, saying he is focused now on representing his constituents. He said he will wait until about a year before his term is up to decide whether to run again.

-- By JR Ross

Thursday, April 4, 2013

 10:59 AM 

Brennan Center tallies $1.1 million in TV spending for Wis Supreme Court race

The Brennan Center for Justice today estimated $1.1 million was spent on broadcast TV ads in Wisconsin's Supreme Court race.

The figures do not include ads that ran on cable TV, meaning the actual figure is likely higher, the report notes.

The group reported Justice Pat Roggensack and conservative outside groups outspent challenger Ed Fallone, a Marquette Law School professor, 5-to-1.

That includes:
-$470,000 by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.
-$300,000 from the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
-$155,000 by Roggensack.

Fallone spent about $190,000, the group said.

The $1.1 million fell well short of the $3.9 million spent on the 2011 race between Justice David Prosser and state Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

-- By Staff

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

 6:00 PM 

Post-election Political Stock Report

--A collection of insider opinion--
April 3, 2013


Pat Roggensack: The justice can turn her attention back to the Supreme Court now that her re-election is out of the way. Insiders say Roggensack was never seriously challenged in this spring's race, getting more than 50 percent of the vote in a three-way primary, receiving air cover from conservative groups and outraising her opponent. As much as Ed Fallone tried to make the race about the court's dysfunction, they say he failed badly in trying to lay that problem at Roggensack's feet. The election is barely over, but some are already looking ahead to 2015, when Justice Ann Walsh Bradley would be up for re-election. Conservatives consider her a top target, unhappy with her interjections into this spring's race and viewing her as more culpable in a physical altercation with Justice David Prosser than others have made her out to be. Some conservatives look at the lack of support for Fallone as a sign liberal groups are simply tapped out in the post-Act 10 world. The collective bargaining changes shrank the supply of union dues that could be used for political activities, some argue. Liberals, though, say while they have to keep a closer eye on their money, it'll be there for Bradley if she runs in 2015. Without a clear path to victory, they say, there was no point in spending money on this race. Further, national groups remain a resource for them in Wisconsin elections. They also point out 2015 is a near eternity in politics, suggesting the 2014 elections may shape the political environment before then.

Tony Evers: The state superintendent cruises to re-election, but that’s no surprise to insiders, who saw GOP state Rep. Don Pridemore as an even weaker challenger than Fallone. In another sign of Wisconsin voters' ticket-splitting tendencies, the liberal Evers and conservative Roggensack almost match vote totals even as almost 54,000 fewer votes are cast in the DPI race. Insiders take that as a sign of how poorly Pridemore connected with voters: he had no presence on the airwaves and even some conservatives weren’t comfortable with the idea of him being the state’s top education official. Evers calls his victory an affirmation of voters’ support for strong public schools and says he can now return to lobbying lawmakers for more money to help them. But Evers remains hamstrung by Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-run Legislature, especially considering their control over the state’s purse strings.

Same-day registration: No one is surprised that voters in the city of Milwaukee and Dane County overwhelmingly endorse keeping same-day registration. No one expects the results to be a major factor in any coming debates on whether to keep it, either. In Dane County, almost 82 percent of voters back keeping the option to register at the polls, while almost three-fourths of voters in Milwaukee support it. The town of Blue Mounds asks a different question on same-day registration, posing to voters whether they should be required to show a state-issued ID at the polls to register in order to keep the option. It’s approved 132-104. Regardless, the biggest factor keeping same-day registration on the books, some say, is the cost. Some Republicans have argued for the elimination of same-day registration, charging it makes the state vulnerable to fraud, but Dems are quick to dismiss such talk as code for GOP desires to make it harder to vote, especially for those who tend to support the other side. Still, Walker has backed away from the issue after estimates that the move would cost millions.


School referendums: The largest school referendums on the ballot Tuesday saw mixed results from spring election voters, according to preliminary results posted by the Department of Public Instruction. The largest overall request on the ballot, in Columbus, went down to defeat as voters rejected a $30.6 million initiative to construct a new high school along with a separate $9.3 million measure. And the largest single referendum on the ballot also failed, with Sheboygan Falls voters rejecting a $33.8 million request to construct a new middle school. Other districts to reject large referendums included Beloit Turner ($28 million), Arcadia ($23.4 million), Johnson Creek ($22 million), and East Troy Community ($19 million). Several other large spending measures, however, gained approval from voters. The Menomonie Area School District, which proposed the second-largest spending total on the spring ballot, saw both its referendums pass for a total of $36 million. Voters also backed referendums in Menasha ($30 million), Hortonville ($25.5 million) and the Blair-Taylor School District ($17 million). Another $370,000 referendum in Hortonville failed. Of the more than $375 million on the ballot across the state, voters rejected $212 million and endorsed $163 million.

See more on the referendum results:

Turnout: It didn’t come close to 2011, when a Supreme Court race in the midst of Capitol protests drove turnout to 34 percent. But it didn’t exactly bottom out in the spring election, either. About 19 percent of the voting age population went to the polls on Tuesday, in line with the GAB’s pre-election prediction of 20 percent. That’s not bad considering it’s spring break for some school districts, the Tuesday after Easter and neither state race captured voter interest. Going back to 2000, turnout in a spring election featuring a Supreme Court race has only eclipsed 21 percent once, and that was the 2011 Kloppenburg-Prosser race that turned into a proxy war over collective bargaining and Scott Walker. After what has seemed like a nonstop string of elections over the past several years, voters will now have plenty of time to catch their breaths. While there will be another round of local spring elections next year, there will not be another statewide contest until the summer primary in 2014.

Walker-appointed judges: Being one of the guv’s appointees still appears to carry some baggage in Dane County judicial races. But insiders say a connection with Walker isn’t nearly as much of an issue in the rest of the state, not even in heavily Dem Milwaukee County. Only five circuit court incumbents drew a challenger this spring, and all five had a connection to Walker of some sort. In Dane County, Judge Rebecca St. John lost to attorney Rhonda Lanford, who ran a TV ad that knocked the incumbent as a Walker appointee. Lanford's campaign says the race was about experience and the issues, but others see a clear play to tie St. John to a guv whose numbers are less than stellar in the state’s most liberal county. Some conservatives caution the right candidate with the right message and campaign could still win in liberal Dane County, but acknowledge the resentment that remains. In Milwaukee County, Assistant DA Janet Protasiewicz tried a similar tactic against Judge Rebecca Bradley, saying Walker appointed Bradley after she donated to his campaign. But the incumbent fends off the attack in retaining the seat. Insiders on both sides credit her with running a great campaign and note she played up a bipartisan image in touting the endorsements of Dems like County Exec Chris Abele and former DA E. Michael McCann along with ultraconservative Dem David Clarke, the sheriff. That caught the public’s attention more than her past presidency of the conservative Federalist Society. The race also illustrates the importance of spring turnout for Milwaukee County Dems. They couldn't take out Bradley yesterday, but last year, when 16,000 more people in the county voted, liberals were able to pick off a Walker appointee. Elsewhere, Walker appointees to northern Wisconsin circuit court seats had split results. But those races were more about where the incumbents lived prior to their appointments -- one in a different county, another across the state line until a year before his election -- than their ties to Walker. In Ozaukee County, there was a different Walker connection. Judge Tom Wolfgram is skunked after attorney Joe Voiland made the race largely about the incumbent’s decision to sign a petition seeking Walker’s recall. Beyond raising questions of whether it’s appropriate for a judge to sign a recall petition, the move does not play well in conservative Ozaukee County. Some insiders note the results there and in Dane County show the lingering effects of the Act 10 battle from two years ago. While some liberals will never get over Walker’s moves on collective bargaining, some conservatives will never forgive those who sought to recall the guv .

Former lawmakers: Leaving the state Capitol doesn’t necessarily mean an end to a politician’s public life. But it also isn’t a guarantee of success in future campaigns, if Tuesday’s results are any indication. Three former state lawmakers were on the ballot Tuesday and only one comes through -- barely. Former state Rep. Tony Staskunas, D-West Allis, wins a Milwaukee County Board election by just 167 votes, according to unofficial returns. Meanwhile, former Dem state Rep. Terry Van Akkeren loses his bid to hold onto his post as Sheboygan mayor. After unsuccessfully bidding for the job in the past, Van Akkeren had finally won the seat last year in a recall election following a series of alcohol-related incidents that plagued former Mayor Bob Ryan. In southeastern Wisconsin, former GOP state Rep. Curt Gielow loses his re-election bid for Mequon mayor to a candidate who opposed Gielow's vision for development in the community.


Ed Fallone: The Marquette University Law professor could never seem to get his campaign off the ground, insiders say. Liberals had their hopes set on Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi, envisioning a race that would excite the base, lead to an outpouring of resources and set up an epic clash over a host of political issues. But with her sitting it out, liberals didn’t see a path to victory and kept their money on the sidelines, insiders say. Some are critical of Fallone’s candidacy, but insiders on both sides say the lack of judge experience hurt big time. Without that black robe, there was no green to be had. Fallone also had difficulty transferring culpability in the Prosser-Bradley altercation to Justice Pat Roggensack. What’s more, progressives look at turnout as a continued Achilles' heel for them in spring races. While Dems are great at turning out voters in fall elections, they struggle to excite them in the spring. Going back over a decade, turnout for every spring race featuring a Supreme Court campaign has been around 20 percent or less with one exception -- the Kloppenburg-Prosser campaign in 2011. Some liberals argue that drives home the point they need a better turnout pitch to voters in the spring if they ever hope to turn things around in Supreme Court races; Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson has been their only win among the contested contests of the past decade.

Don Pridemore: The GOP state lawmaker didn’t get much help from Republicans in his bid to win the state superintendent’s office, and he takes a little dig at the guv in the aftermath of this failed campaign. The Hartford Republican tried to make hay out of Tony Evers signing the recall petition against Walker, but the guv declined to endorse in the race. Pridemore says he was disappointed in that decision and questions why Walker wouldn’t support someone who’d be a “much friendlier person in this job.” Still, even some conservatives say they didn’t want Pridemore in the post. While he may be more aligned with them philosophically than Evers, they didn’t see him as a viable candidate or someone who could properly carry the GOP message in such a position. Republicans had tried to recruit a conservative-minded school superintendent to run and tout the benefits of Walker’s collective bargaining changes. But those efforts failed. While some conservatives complain about a missed opportunity, liberals point out the other side also came up short four years ago in running a virtual school proponent against Evers in an open seat. It would have been tough for conservatives regardless of who they picked, liberals say.

 7:16 AM 

Turnout in line with GAB predictions

There were still some precincts yet to report this morning, but turnout in yesterday's election appears to be in line with GAB predictions.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, there were a little more than 834,000 votes counted in the state Supreme Court race, which had a higher turnout than the DPI contest.

With a voting age population of almost 4.4 million, that puts turnout around 19 percent. Turnout for spring elections featuring a Supreme Court race on the ballot has been between 18.2 percent and 20.9 percent over the past decade with the exception of the 2011 race, when turnout hit 34.3 percent, according to the GAB.

UPDATE: The GAB has pegged turnout at 19.3 percent. See the release.

-- By JR Ross

 12:02 AM 

Staskunas wins, Van Akkeren loses

Former state Rep. Tony Staskunas narrowly won a Milwaukee County Board race, while fellow former Dem state Rep. Terry Van Akkeren lost his re-election bid as Sheboygan mayor.

With all precincts reporting, Staskunas had 4,452 votes, or 50 percent, to 4,285, or 49 percent, for Tom Anthony.

Van Akkeren, who lost his re-election bid to the Assembly in 2010, won the mayor's office last year in a recall of former Mayor Bob Ryan, who was targeted after a series of alcohol-related incidents.

Mike Vandersteen had 4,059 votes to 3,862 votes for Van Akkeren, according to unofficial returns from the Sheboygan County Clerk's office.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

 11:49 PM 

Evers: Re-election affirms voters' commitment to public schools

State Superintendent Tony Evers said his re-election affirmed voters’ commitment to a strong public school system.

Evers said his race with GOP state Rep. Don Pridemore offered voters a “crystal clear choice between two very different philosophies about education.”

“I look forward to continuing this great work and fighting to make sure every child is a graduate ready for college or career,” Evers said. “Most immediately, I look forward to working with the Legislature to craft a state budget that invests in our public school kids.”

-- By Staff

 11:08 PM 

Mixed night for Walker judicial appointees

It was a mixed night for judges Gov. Scott Walker appointed to the circuit court bench.

In Dane County, attorney Rhonda Lanford beat Judge Rebecca St. John after running a TV ad explicitly tying the incumbent to Walker. St. John responded with an ad that questioned Lanford’s temperament for the court.

With 94 percent of the vote in, Lanford had 42,639 votes, or 52.5 percent, to 38,519 votes, or 47.4 percent for St. John, according to unofficial returns.

Challenger Janet Protasiewicz, an assistant district attorney, tried a similar tact with Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Bradley, running a TV ad that charged Walker appointed Bradley after she gave him campaign contributions. Bradley responded with a spot of her own charging Protasiewicz “uses divisive attack ads to distort the truth.”

Bradley won with 53 percent of the vote and all precincts reporting, according to unofficial returns.

Walker’s ties to the appointees didn’t receive nearly the same focus in two other races involving incumbents he put on the bench.

In Lincoln County, attorney Robert Russell beat Judge John Yackel. Russell’s supported played up his long-time ties to the community, while Yackel was living outside the county prior to his appointment. With one precinct still out, Russell had 3,067 votes, or 51.49 percent, to 2,887, or 48.46 percent, for Yackel, according to unofficial returns.

In Marinette County, Judge James Morrison’s appointment drew criticism because he had lived in Michigan until a year before he was put on the bench. But he easily beat back Dem DA Allen Brey 4,172 votes to 3,189 votes, according to unofficial returns. 

-- By JR Ross

 11:05 PM 

Election Day supporters cruise to easy wins in Milwaukee and Dane County

With nearly 95 percent of precincts reporting in Dane County, voters have overwhelmingly given the thumbs up to keeping Election Day voter registration, with 72,425 voters, or 81.7 percent of all voters, voting yes to retain the practice.

In Milwaukee, with all precincts in, voters approved a similar backing of the same-day registration system with 31,014 votes, or 73 percent of the vote, in favor of keeping it.

-- By Jason Smathers

 10:16 PM 

Roggensack: Experience, positive message paved way to win

Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack said tonight voters responded to her positive message and experience on the bench.

"I think they got the message that it's really better to be a judge before you start out as a justice because you know better how to do the work that you're expected to do," she said in a phone interview following her victory speech. "I think it wasn't a complicated message."

The AP declared Roggensack the winner after she rolled to a significant lead early on over Ed Fallone, a Marquette University Law professor. With 70 percent of the vote in, Roggensack led Fallone with 343,142 votes, or 58 percent, to 253,047, or 42 percent, according to unofficial returns.

Fallone regularly criticized what he called a dysfunctional Supreme Court and blamed Roggensack for some of the court's issues. Roggensack often shot back that she was saddened Fallone was trying to tear down the court because he couldn't run on his own experience.

Roggensack brushed off Fallone's criticisms on Election Night saying, "We’re moving on. That was talk that went on through the campaign. I look forward to working with each and every one of my colleagues."

During the campaign, Roggensack pledged to work with her fellow justices to address the physical altercation between Justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley that was often discussed during the spring race. She said there are a number of things the court can do to address the issue, including focusing more on how the justices can best serve the public.

UPDATE: Fallone congratulated Roggensack in a statement.

"Although I couldn’t manufacture a win tonight, however the fight will continue to bring equal justice for all Wisconsinites, and to end the dysfunction that has plagued our Supreme Court for the last two years,” he said. 

-- By JR Ross

 10:02 PM 

Pridemore says he'll run again for Superintendent if "no one steps up"

Coming off of his loss, GOP Rep. Don Pridemore makes it clear that his focus will not wane on what he feels is the "obstinate" control of the Department of Public Instruction under Superintendent Tony Evers.

Pridemore says that Evers, who won re-election tonight over Pridemore by a wide margin, has stood in the way of efforts to improve school choice and produced a level of bureaucracy that is stalling innovative approaches to improve education in the state of Wisconsin.

"I look at this as losing the first battle, but the war is far from over," Pridemore said. "I think I've raised enough issues and I plan to keep on continuing my focus on DPI. I don't see us improving with the way were going now."

Pridemore, the Republican from Erin who has never held a position in the field of education, said that he knew that conservatives were trying to recruit two conservative-minded district superintendents to run against Evers, but that those talks ended when he announced his run.

Pridemore made clear that he expected more support than he ended up receiving and said that most of the attention and money in his race was diverted to the state Supreme Court race, hurting his effort.

"I've traveled around the state as much as I could and got a lot of support, but without the ability to connect with a lot of people who I thought were going to be helping me, it's tough to do."

While he says that conservatives could come up with a better candidate or "someone more qualified" than himself in four years time for the DPI seat, he says he'll run again if "no on steps up."

 9:34 PM 

Roggensack, Evers still up big

Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack and DPI Superintendent Tony Evers continue to have big leads on their challengers.

With 42 percent of the vote in the Supreme Court race, Roggensack has 60 percent of the vote to 40 percent for Ed Fallone.

With 43 percent of the vote in the DPI race, Evers has 59 percent of the vote to 41 percent for GOP Rep. Don Pridemore.

-- By Staff

 9:32 PM 

Election Day registration approval overwhelming in Milwaukee, Dane

So far, the voters in Dane County and Milwaukee seem to be saying "yes" to Same Day Voter Registration.

In Dane County, with 56 percent of precincts reporting, voters are supporting the practice by an overwhelming margin -- 83.1 percent to only 16.9 percent voting against it. In Milwaukee, with 78 percent of precincts reporting, 72 percent are giving the nod to Same Day Voter Registration.

The advisory ballot items came about after comments from Gov. Scott Walker talking about possibility eliminating the practice. While some legislators drafted legislation to do away with the practice, Walker later backed away from the comments and said he'd veto such a bill after the cost of doing away with Same Day Registration was estimated by the Government Accountability Board to be around $14 million.

 -- By Jason Smathers

 9:11 PM 

Roggensack maintains large lead; Evers lead narrows

Incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack is holding onto a 24-point advantage on Marquette Law professor Ed Fallone, while State Superintendent Tony Evers has seen his early lead over Rep. Don Pridemore shrink to about 12 percent.

With 15 percent of precincts reporting, Roggensack 103,266 votes, or 62 percent, to Fallone's 64,253 votes, or 38 percent.

Evers has 89,843, or 56 percent of the vote, to Pridemore's 69,414, or 44 percent.

Meanwhile, the race between incumbent Dane County circuit court judge Rebecca St. John, a Walker appointee, and attorney Rhonda Lanford, has flipped. With 34.85 percent of precincts reporting, Lanford maintaining a slim lead over St. John -- 13,151 votes to 12,793, or 50.6 percent to 49.2 percent.

Another Walker appointee, Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Bradley, is faring a bit better. Bradley is currently holding onto a 54 to 46 percent lead on Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Janet Protasiewicz with 43 percent of precincts reporting.

-- By Jason Smathers

 8:32 PM 

Very early returns

Some early returns are starting to trickle in.

With 2 percent of precincts reporting, Justice Pat Roggensack is leading Marquette Law professor Ed Fallone 13,020 votes to 10,508.

In the DPI race, Superintendent Tony Evers is leading GOP Rep. Don Pridemore 14,474 votes to 7,639 votes.

-- By Staff

 8:18 PM 

St. John with narrow lead in Dane judicial race; Election Day Registration also faring well

It's very early in the night, but the first results trickling in from Dane County show Walker appointee Rebecca St. John leading opponent Rhonda Lanford.

With only about 4 percent of precincts reporting, St. John leads Lanford 53.3 percent to 46.7 percent. At this point in the night, however, that's only a 150 vote lead.

The advisory referendum on whether to keep Election Day Registration is going as expected in Dane County --  77.7 percent in favor, 22.3 percent against.

-- By Jason Smathers

 5:45 PM 

Neylon prepares for Assembly

Adam Neylon still has one more step before he can officially join the state Assembly. But he says he’s already working with the Assembly GOP caucus so he can hit the ground running once he’s sworn in.

Neylon, R-Pewaukee, is unopposed on the ballot today in the open 98th Assembly District, which was left open when Republican Paul Farrow won a seat in the state Senate.

Neylon said he was unsure how soon he could be sworn in after the canvass is complete, but he hopes to take care of that as soon as possible.

Neylon was in the Capitol today and participated in a caucus budget meeting. He said he’s also awaiting word on his official committee assignments and has lined up his staffer in Travis Schwartz, who previously interned for GOP state Rep. Howard Marklein. He’s also slated to have his office in what previously was the speaker’s annex in the west wing of the Capitol.

“I’m kind of easing my way into it and trying to hit the ground running,” Neylon said. 

-- By JR Ross

 2:42 PM 

Same-day registration to Citizen United among local referendums on today's ballot

In addition to deciding races for the state Supreme Court and superintendent of Public Instruction, voters around Wisconsin are being asked today to weigh in on same-day registration, amending the U.S. Constitution in response to the Citizen United decision and a host of local issues.

While the school referendums on many local ballots today are binding, the questions on same-day registration are not.

In Dane County and the city of Milwaukee, voters are being asked if the state should continue to allow people to register at the polls on Election Day. In the Town of Blue Mounds, the question is whether the state should require voters to present state-issued ID in order to continue allowing same-day registration.

The cities of Fort Atkinson and Whitewater along with Chippewa County have the referendums in response to the Citizen United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Chippewa County ballot asks, “Should the United States Constitution be amended to state that only human beings, not corporations, unions, or political action committees, are entitled to constitutional rights and that government regulation of political contributions and spending by corporations, unions or political action committees is therefore not equivalent to limiting freedom of speech?”

Some of the other local referendums include questions like whether the Town of Westford should close its current solid waste and recyclables collection site and replace with curb side collection and if the city of Oconto’s Common Council should be reduced to six aldermen from the current 10.

See a GAB list of the local referendums. 

-- By JR Ross

 1:17 PM 

Low Election Day turnout so far

As expected, Election Day turnout has been low in many Wisconsin municipalities, with local election officials saying final turnout was expected anywhere between 15 percent and 25 percent. 

The Government Accountability Board initially predicted turnout of around 20 percent statewide.

Neil Albrecht, Milwaukee Election Commission executive director, said that while there's been no problems at the polls, his initial prediction of 30 percent to 35 percent turnout is looking more like it'll be 20 percent to 25 percent. 

"A lot of the schools, at least Milwaukee Public Schools, are on spring break right now," Albrecht said. "So in some cases, voters are traveling or the election isn't on their minds." 

The city of Madison was reporting a 6.7 percent turnout as of 11 a.m. That number usually triples by the end of a standard  Election Day. 

Appleton, so far, is looking at about a 24 percent turnout, down from the clerk's earlier projections of 27 percent to 29 percent. The city of Kenosha was expecting to end up at about 19 percent turnout. As of this morning, the city of Eau Claire was at 5.3 percent turnout while the city of Green Bay was at 3 percent turnout, not counting absentee ballots. The city of Waukesha didn't have turnout numbers, but clerks said that it was relatively quiet around the city. 

-- By Jason Smathers

 9:15 AM 

Voters to decide Supreme Court, DPI races

The polls are open for the spring general election.

Voters will decide two statewide races on the ballot today with Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack challenged by Marquette Law professor Ed Fallone and state Superintendent Tony Evers facing GOP state Rep. Don Pridemore.

Former GOP legislative aide Adam Neylon is unopposed in the general election to fill Waukesha County's open 98th Assembly District, while there are numerous local races on the ballot today.

The GAB has predicted turnout of about 20 percent.

-- By Staff

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