GAB expects a record primaryThe state's election agency is predicting record turnout for Wisconsin's September primary.
By: Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The state's election agency is predicting record turnout for Wisconsin's September primary.
The Government Accountability Board (GAB) estimates that 28 percent of Wisconsin residents who are old enough to vote will come to the polls. That would just slightly edge the old record of 27.9 percent set in 1964. The most recent comparable primary was in 2002 when more than 22 percent got out to vote.
GAB Director Kevin Kennedy says all the open seats are driving the prediction. They've set up multi-candidate primaries in a number of state Assembly races, big primaries for both parties in the race for lieutenant governor and a hotly contested Republican gubernatorial primary.
“That translates to a lot of voters,” says Kennedy. “Normally we don't break a million voters in the primary. We've been right up around 900,000 a couple times but we've got more people in the state and given what we think will be the interest in this primary election, we expect 1.2 million voters which is 28-percent of our voting age population."
Kennedy says predictions like these are part art, part science. The science looks at factors like the sheer numbers of open seats and the factor that two of the major candidates for governor are from the state's most populous county.
Kennedy says it's GAB's sense that the public is very motivated about government right now.
Wisconsin law doesn't require voters to declare a party. But the state's primary is closed, meaning a person can only vote for candidates from one party or the other.