Wisconsin recall election: Why voters can't wait for it to end
The Wisconsin recall election is leaving many voters with a bitter taste, regardless of whom they supported. They see their state as tarnished, taxpayers' money as wasted, or divides as deepened.
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Many voters who supported Walker Tuesday said their decision was not necessarily because they fully support his budget reforms, which included curbing collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions, or because they believe he is untarnished as a candidate. Instead, they said Walker got their vote because they feel a need to send a message about the inherent unfairness of the recall process itself.Skip to next paragraph
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“It’s money that didn’t need to be spent. For what? Nobody’s going to like whatever everybody does,” says Chris Carie, an insurance appraiser.
Standing outside the village hall in Union Grove, Wis., Lee LaMeer, who is self-employed, described the recall as “crazy” and says it was “a relief” to end it by voting.
“There was so much mud-slinging; it’s time to get it over with and move forward,” Mr. LaMeer says.
For that to happen, Barrett supporters argued that the recall was a necessity. Yet even they agreed that neither candidate, nor their state, will emerge unscathed.
“I’m kind of sick of it. It became one huge smear campaign. I hoped they would act more like adults,” says Christine, a Barrett backer and a Target worker in Union Grove, Wis., who asked to withhold her last name because of privacy concerns. She says that despite her aversion toward the whole process, she voted because “nothing will change it if you stay at home and do nothing.”
Groups tasked with watching polls to ensure voter rights and to report any voter fraud were out in force on Tuesday. True the Vote, an organization based in Houston that is affiliated with the tea party movement, announced it is sending “hundreds” of volunteers trained to observe elections. Joining them at polling places are volunteers from the Wisconsin chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is also manning a hot line for citizens to report polling place irregularities. According to ACLU communications director Stacy Harbaugh, the hot line had received 594 calls by early afternoon.
“There’s a diverse spectrum of [poll watchers], which are partisan and nonpartisan. [Turnout is] going to be historic,” Ms. Harbaugh says.
Many worry that the race may be too close to call, which will result in a recount that could keep state leadership in flux. Wisconsin election officials say it would take another two weeks for a potential recount to start – and that counting could last more than a month.
Outside the public library in Racine, Wis., Ellen Billingham says she worries that the losing side “is not going to take no for an answer,” which threatens to create more conflict. “It’s just tedious. Let’s just get it over with and get back to solving more important issues.”
IN PICTURES: Showdown in Wisconsin