After more than a year of buildup, turnout in the Wisconsin recall is on track to be huge.
Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl told TPM that as of 4 p.m. Central Time, the city was at roughly 50 percent turnout — and that if typical turnout patterns were to pan out, in which turnout doubles after the workday, the city could reach 100 percent turnout.
Last week, the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, predicted that turnout could be in the range of 60-65 percent — more typical of a presidential election, rather than the mid-term gubernatorial races. And at the rate things are going in the city’s major population centers, that prediction could well pan out.
Witzel-Behl also said that turnout has not been slowing down from any early rush for the recall. “There’s a lot of people who decided to vote at the polls first thing in the morning. But we do have some polling places that called us not too long ago asking, ‘Can you send us more poll workers? We’re swamped.’”
An earlier city report, based only on data through 11 a.m., suggested 119 percent turnout was possible in the city. Such figure is possible because Wisconsin law allows same-day voter registration at the polls, and turnout is typically measured based on the number of voters registered before Election Day begins. As such, any turnout of over 100 percent, which might still occur, would mean that new voters registered at the polls would push the total number of voters over the earlier registrations.
City officials in Milwaukee had to send out extra poll workers, to handle the torrent of voters.
Republican strongholds are just as active as the Democratic ones. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that officials in the GOP stronghold of Waukesha County are similarly predicting turnout there will exceed the GAB’s predicted statewide average. Officials in neighboring Washington County, also a major GOP center, are similarly reporting heavy turnout.
The polls will close at 8 p.m. Central Time.