Absentee voting brisk ahead of recall electionMILWAUKEE — Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett observed Memorial Day by taking a break from campaigning. Plenty of voters, however, still had the recall election on their minds Monday.
By: By Dinesh Ramde/Associated Press, Superior Telegram
MILWAUKEE — Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett observed Memorial Day by taking a break from campaigning. Plenty of voters, however, still had the recall election on their minds Monday.
Hundreds of people spent their holiday in line at the Municipal Building in downtown Milwaukee, waiting cast absentee ballots ahead of the June 5 election. Some voters said they wanted to avoid crowds and possible shenanigans on Election Day. Others weren’t going to be in town that day. And some said they wanted to get their voting out of the way so they could spend Election Day encouraging others to head to the polls.
Cathy Cunningham, 50, said she wanted to vote early so she could do whatever she could June 5 to help Barrett win.
“I want to get rid of Walker,” said Cunningham, who works at a grocery store. “I think he’s fooling some people into thinking he’s saving the state money but he’s really selling out to corporate interests.”
The effort to recall Walker and five other Republicans stems largely from Walker’s successful push to eliminate nearly all collective bargaining rights from most public-sector workers.
In 2010, Walker defeated Barrett by 5 percentage points, and recent polls show the governor holds a slight lead over his Democratic challenger.
According to polls, the percentage of undecided voters is in the low single digits. That’s why both candidates are concentrating less on wooing undecided voters and more on get-out-the-vote efforts. Even if voter turnout next week is a lofty 50 percent, that still means 2 million voters sat out the recall.
Stephen Van Gelderen, a 29-year-old music director at his church, cast an absentee ballot for Walker on Monday because he won’t be in town June 5. He said Walker didn’t deserve to face a recall because any elected official, Democrat or Republican, deserves a chance to finish his or her term as long as there were no major ethical issues.
“I also like his fiscal policies. Through his policies, we’ve seen the budget deficit erased,” the Milwaukee man said. “I also like his position on moral issues, such as abortion and homosexuality.”
Walker and Barrett have been rallying voters in recent days, but both paused their campaigns Monday. Walker planned to spend Memorial Day at ceremonies at a Milwaukee cemetery and an Armed Forces Reserve Center in Madison. Barrett was scheduled to attend a Memorial Day parade in Beloit followed by a stop at the Madison Brat Fest.
City clerks’ offices in Madison and Milwaukee were open this weekend to accommodate in-person absentee voters. People can request absentee ballots through Thursday. In-person absentee voting in clerks’ offices ends Friday.