• WisPolitics


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

 4:49 PM 

Pockets of heavier turnout around state, particularly in Milwaukee

Election officials around the state reported pockets of heavier turnout, particularly in Milwaukee, where there were several Assembly primaries on the ballot as well as the sheriff's contest.

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said the agency had not heard of any significant problems with today's vote. He said the biggest issue that surfaced today was the usual confusion over crossover voting.

That was particularly true in Milwaukee County, where some voters wanted to cast their ballots in the GOP primary but then cross over and vote in the Dem primary for sheriff as well. Kennedy said some voters also wanted to vote in the GOP primary but then write in Clarke's name for the office, believing that would count toward his total in the Dem primary with Moews.

State law requires primary voters to only cast ballots in races for one party.

Kennedy, who spent the day observing the vote in the 6th CD, said the agency stressed that ahead of today's vote.

"That's probably the biggest one," Kennedy said of any problems he's heard about. "Otherwise, it's just a handful of issues.

The GAB projected 15 percent of the state's 4.4 million eligible voters -- about 660,000 -- would turn out today. 

City of Milwaukee Election Commissioner Neil Albrecht said he expects turnout to be around 20 percent citywide with higher numbers in the open Assembly districts with Dem primaries.

There, he said, turnout could be up to 30 percent.

He said turnout for a normal fall primary can be as low as 10 percent or 12 percent. But the Assembly primaries, the 4th CD Dem primary and the sheriff's race are all helping to boost turnout.

He said one polling site lost power today, but was able to maintain full operations.

Otherwise, the biggest issue has been those unhappy they can't vote in the GOP primaries and then cast ballots in the Dem primary for sheriff as well.

"People are frustrated," he said. "Over and over again, we hear 'I want to vote for the candidate of my choice.'"

In Madison, home to Dem AG candidate Ismael Ozanne and one contested Assembly primary, turnout was 4.7 percent as of 11 a.m. 

Turnout in the 6th CD seems generally on track with the GAB estimate of 15 percent, election officials said.

Clerks in Fond du Lac and Mequon both said the turnout had been low, but that both expected the municipalities to get "around" the 15 percent mark by the time the polls close.

Port Washington, which is part of the newly drawn 6th CD, had a 13 percent turnout as of 2 p.m. today, with the clerk saying she expected to hit 20 percent by the close of polls at 8 p.m.

Sheboygan reported 11 percent turnout as of noon. The city of Portage in Columbia County was especially quiet, with only 4 percent turnout as of 10:30 a.m.

Most of the clerks attributed the initial low marks to rain in the area and the move of the fall primary to August. One clerk in Portage remarked that she heard several residents claim they were unaware of the date change from September. The primary date took effect in 2012 to give ample time for clerks to mail absentee ballots to military and overseas personnel.

Otherwise, the polls have been quiet in the area, with one only one problem occurring in Fond du Lac. Voters in some precincts were unable to scan their ballots due to what appeared to be errors in codings of the form. However, the clerk for the city said most precincts had backup ballots that did scan, allowing the problems to be cleared up relatively early.

-- By Staff


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