Peter Mundt: Milwaukee voter offers father assistance

Peter Mundt joined his father at the polls in Milwaukee Tuesday. Photo by Tasha Khan/News21

Peter Mundt was helping his father complete a same-day registration form at Engleburg Elementary school in North Milwaukee when an election observer reported Mundt to the chief inspector.

The inspector asked why Mundt was helping his father; he explained that his father has difficulty reading and needed assistance.

The Wisconsin voter registration form allows assistance if those aiding voters provide a signature and address. Mundt signed the form, and his father was able to vote.

Mundt did not have a problem with the inspector’s question, he said.

“I was comfortable with it,” Mundt said. “I mean, they are there to do their job, to make sure the voting process is going correctly.”

By Tasha Khan, News21

Ruth Zubrensky: Wisconsin poll watcher finds no fraud

Ruth Zubrensky was a poll watcher Tuesday at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Photo by Tasha Khan/News21

Ruth Zubrensky, 84, sat quietly Tuesday near the back of the polling place in Sandburg Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she watched voters cast their ballots.

Zubrensky has been an election observer a half-dozen times in Wisconsin, she said, and she has never seen any fraudulent activity at the polls.

“Fraud is such a minimum, such a minimum,” she said.

Zubrensky took voter protection training offered by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Unlike in many other states, Wisconsin observers are not required to register with a political party or a candidate. Observers must sign in with the senior election official and provide their name, address and organization, according to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board website.

By Tasha Khan, News21

Satra and Kenny Rembert: Milwaukee precinct mix up

Satra and Kenny Rembert had trouble locating their Milwaukee precinct Tuesday. Photo by Tasha Khan/News21

Satra and Kenny Rembert intended to vote for Mayor Tom Barrett Tuesday at Engleburg Elementary school in North Milwaukee, but were unable to vote at the precinct because they were registered in another district three blocks away.

The Remberts said they were casting their vote for the city of Milwaukee and for their children.

“Our kids are suffering as well as poor people in the city,” Satra Rembert said.

By Tasha Khan, News21

Milwaukee election observers earn mixed reviews

Gov. Scott Walker won by a comfortable margin Tuesday in Wisconsin’s recall election. The closely watched contest drew national attention, forecasts of a narrow race and predictions of a recount in balloting that highlighted the role of election observers.

Sometimes called poll watchers, election observers are associated with a candidate or a cause and are allowed to monitor polling activity. Observers Tuesday came from groups that included the League of Women Voters, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, We are Wisconsin, Wisconsin Jobs Now and True the Vote.

Jean McCoy-Garner, the top official at the Engleburg Elementary School polling location in north Milwaukee, said observers didn’t cause her many problems Tuesday.

“Sometimes I have to remind them of what they can and can’t do,” she said. “Ultimately they need to let people have the freedom to vote, and they can’t do certain things.”

Jamila Gatlin took exception with the official’s analysis, saying that she was offended by the three observers at the school.

“That’s pretty harassing if you ask me,” Gatlin said after she voted and left the school. “Why do we have to be watched while we vote? Do they go watch people vote in their areas?”

Gatlin was bothered by the fact that all the observers were white, she said, and they were dispatched to a predominantly African-American polling place. It didn’t matter, she said, that two of them were from organizations described as conservative and one was from a liberal group.

By AJ Vicens, News21

CNN, NBC News project Gov. Scott Walker as recall winner

CNN and NBC News have projected Gov. Scott Walker as the winner in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett needed a strong showing in Madison and Milwaukee, but Walker outperformed Barrett in rural and suburban districts. Democrats made a final push to turn out the vote in urban centers, but could not compensate for Walker gains elsewhere.

For additional election night coverage and analysis, follow @AJVicens and @Khantasha, as well as @WhoCanVote.

What to watch for as Wisconsin numbers roll out

Here is a quick guide to filter through the recall election rough and tumble:

1) Dane County.   The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the state government call Dane County home, and a win for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is improbable without a far-above-average showing.  Early reports from Madison indicated turnout could rise beyond the 100 percent of registered voters and include those who registered Tuesday.

2) Unions.  Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to limit union workers’ collective bargaining rights has been the focal point of the recall, and Twitter was flooded Tuesday with reports of union workers heading to the polls.  If the union vote is the highest that it has been in eight years, as the Washington Post projects is possible, the race gets even tighter.

3) Overall Turnout.  The state Government Accountability Board has projected turnout around 65 percent, which would be higher than in 2010 and lower than in 2008.  If turnout trends mimic 2010, when Walker was elected governor, then Democrats’ recall hopes might be dashed.

4) Tea Party Vote. If Tea Party voters flock to the polls as they did nationwide in 2010, then Barrett might again be disappointed in his race for the governor’s seat. Exit polls Tuesday show deep divisions among voters and dissatisfaction with both political parties, but Walker’s campaign will rely on those who strongly approve of his time in office.

By Annelise Russell, News21

Early exit polls indicate high union turnout in Wisconsin

Union households could make up about one-third of the voters in Tuesday’s recall election, according to the Washington Post, and if that figure holds up, it would be the best showing for unions in Wisconsin in eight years.

Gov. Scott Walker led the effort to limit the collective bargaining rights of union workers last fall, and public worker unions have pushed back, with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporting eight out of 10 voters Tuesday either strongly approve or strongly disapprove of the way Walker addressed the issue.

Polls suggest Walker still has the edge, according the Post, but if union turnout, as well as increased day-of registration in Madison and Milwaukee, bolsters support for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democrat could close the gap.

By Annelise Russell, News21

Wisconsin voter law could limit student vote

Ellie Ganz, a 19-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin, said she’s not very political, but protests and commotion near the school’s Madison campus last fall were hard to ignore.

Ganz and other students had a front-row seat to the state capital protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to limit collective bargaining rights for public employees. Some students, however, might not be able to participate in the election Tuesday.

Wisconsin’s voter ID provision is on hold, but not all of the law. A judge has suspended the requirement that voters show ID at the polls, but a 28-day residency requirement — an increase from the previous 10-day rule — remains in effect.

Voters must reside in an “election ward for at least 28 consecutive days and have no present intent to move,” according to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB). The board released a memorandum May 17 informing students of the changes to the election law residency requirement.

The requirement might keep students away from the polls, said Mike Browne, the deputy director of the liberal-leaning non-profit One Wisconsin Now.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how that younger vote turns out,” Browne said. “Because they’re not massed in the same kind of densities like they are in a normal November election, and there’s been the change in law that is going to make it more difficult for them to vote in this election.”

By Tasha Khan and AJ Vicens, News21

What if Wisconsin recall comes down to a recount?

Polling places in the Wisconsin recall election between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will open at 7 a.m. CDT Tuesday, but a narrowing race could leave candidates waiting months for results.

Recent public opinion polls by Angus Reid and Public Policy Polling indicate a tightening race. Reid has Walker ahead by six points, 53 percent to 47 percent. PPP gives Walker a three-point advantage, 50-47 percent.

A narrow margin of victory for either candidate could prompt a recount, although in Wisconsin there is no automatic trigger. Candidates may request that votes be tallied again. Elections decided by less than a .5 percent margin can be recounted at no cost to the candidate, according to Wisconsin law.  If the margin of victory is more than .5 percent and less than 2 percent, candidates are required to pay $5 for every ward they request a recount.

If the election is decided by more than 2 percent, candidates who petition for a recount must assume all costs.

Within five days of a complete recount, candidates dissatisfied with the results may then appeal to circuit court and, eventually, appeals court, likely postponing certifying a winner for months.

By Annelise Russell, News21

 

Countdown to Wisconsin recall

A race that is being called the most important until the November
presidential election has brought national attention to Wisconsin.  Tomorrow’s recall election pits Republican Gov. Scott Walker against his 2010 Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.  Walker, who has raised raised roughly $30 million, has been applauded and chided for his fight to dismantle the
collective bargaining rights of public workers in Wisconsin. He could
become the first governor in the state’s history and only the third
in U.S. history to be recalled.

Barrett, a Democrat, could win the gubernatorial prize he sought in 2010.
His campaign hopes to motivate minority voters who supported then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 but stayed home during the 2010 state contest.

Both political parties see the race through a national lens with
implications for November. A Walker win could buoy Republicans
nationally, the Tea Party movement in particular. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty campaigned for Walker. Barrett, whose been behind in many polls, but got a boost last week with a
solid debate performance against Walker and a campaign stop Friday by former President Bill Clinton.

It’s high stakes for both sides, including a virtual army of union members, poll
watchers and other activists.

Follow us at @khantasha, @AJVicens and @WhoCanVote for
updates from Wisconsin throughout today and election day.

By AJ Vicens and Natasha Khan, News21