Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Recall Elections in Wisconsin, The First Primary

Nine Wisconsin State Senators, including six Republicans and three Democrats, are running in recall elections this summer in response to voter outrage over the questionable process used when Republicans cast votes on the bill to strip public workers of their unions. Tuesday's Democratic Primary will determine which challenger will go on to face the incumbent Senators in the general election next month. In each of those 6 senate districts, there are two names on the ballot: one is a candidate with a history of running and voting Democratic and one is a Republican running as a so-called “protest candidate”. Both are listed as Democrats.

For this video, we checked in on the primary race in Senator Luther Olsen’s district. Senator Olsen represents the Central Wisconsin communities of Baraboo, Wisconsin Dells, Portage, Waupaca and New London, among others. Senator Olsen faced two challengers today: Democratic Representative Fred Clark and GOP Protest candidate Rol Church.

We stopped in on all three polling places in Baraboo. Turnout was light, with each polling place reporting fewer than 200 voters as of 10am. Ida DeKeyser and Karen Lawson, two poll workers at Baraboo’s East School, said they usually see a thousand people vote in a typical spring election.

As voter Bill Schlewey said "Wisconsinites are known fighters and this is another fight we're not going to go down easy on."