Wisconsin: Scott Walker signs early-voting bill; partial veto extends voting hours | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Acting out of the public eye on controversial measures, Gov. Scott Walker signed asbestos liability legislation Thursday opposed by a number of veterans groups and used a partial veto to loosen new restrictions on early voting opposed by Democrats. Wielding his pen privately on a stack of 31 bills, Walker approved a number of elections bills Thursday, including the absentee voting measure and another one to give lobbyists more time to give campaign donations to state officials. In the early-voting measure, Walker used his partial veto powers — the most powerful in the nation — to nix language restricting early voting hours in Milwaukee and other cities to 45 hours a week while leaving in place a provision to prohibit early voting on weekends.

Wisconsin: Opponents speak against bill to limit absentee voting | Journal Sentinel

A coalition of voter-rights advocates, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Ald. Milele Coggs and community leaders, expressed opposition Tuesday to a proposed Assembly bill that would trim hours for in-person absentee voting. The group also urged city voters to turn out on April 2 and vote yes on an advisory referendum in favor of same-day voter registration. The referendum asks voters: “Should the State of Wisconsin continue to permit citizens to register to vote at the polls on election day?” Barrett and others said Wisconsin has a long and rich tradition of open and accessible voting laws. The Assembly bill threatens that, he and others said.

Wisconsin: Citizens group auditing recall election results—by hand | GazetteXtra

The Rock County Clerk’s Office opened its doors to an unusual request Tuesday. A group of six concerned citizens wanted to cross-check Rock County’s election results of last month’s gubernatorial recall election—by hand. The group members, who said they were part of the action group Election Fairness, had filed an open records request July 2 with Rock County and Wisconsin’s 71 other counties. Its members seek to hand-count paper ballots in storage at counties around the state to determine whether results on paper ballots match electronic tabulations that counties used to total votes in the June 5 recall election between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, said James Mueller of Cross Plains, the group’s attorney. Most Wisconsin municipalities rely on electronic voting machines to tally votes from paper ballots. The electronic totals are recorded and added to late-arriving absentee ballots during a post-election canvass. That’s how counties arrive at official election results that they certify with the state. But members of Election Fairness say they believe electronic vote tabulation could be a flawed system. The group argues electronic voting machines can misread ballots and lead to mistakes that can skew election results.

Wisconsin: How media called the Walker recall election so fast | The Daily Page

When the major networks called the recall election for Republican Scott Walker barely one hour after the polls closed at 8 p.m., there was widespread disbelief over the results — among Democrats, at least — and bewilderment over the process. Some of the confusion was understandable. The same networks just 30 minutes before had released early exit polling data showing the race between Walker and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett was a dead heat. People were also ticked off that the election was being called with just over 20% of wards reporting and voters still in line in Milwaukee waiting to cast ballots. It struck many in the heat of the moment that corporate media had usurped the democratic process. One woman tweeted in disgust at 9 p.m.: “Ok NBC get a grip 22% and you’re calling it? Puke.” Even the Associated Press seemed sensitive to the criticism, putting out an article that night with the headline “How the AP calls elections before all the votes are tallied.”

Wisconsin: Recall election: The jet-propelled Republican | The Economist

If history is written by the winners, this was the night for the governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, to add his name on the ledger. On June 5th Mr Walker faced a recall election to drive him out of office—only the third attempted recall of a governor in America’s history. This was prompted by statewide outrage when, last year, the pushy Republican brought in a law curbing the collective-bargaining rights of public-sector workers. Mr Walker defeated his opponent, Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee—Wisconsin’s biggest city—by seven points, a wide margin. No governor has survived a recall before, but in a political campaign that has drawn, by the latest accounting, an astonishing $63.5m in funding—most of it from outside groups—Mr Walker outspent his opponents six or seven times over.

Wisconsin: Recall exit poll: What happened? | The Washington Post

Governor Barrett, meet President Kerry. Exit poll numbers released to subscribers just before polls closed in the Wisconsin recall election Tuesday dangled the possibility that Milwaukee Mayor Tommy Barrett (D) could win. The numbers seemed to pop off the screen — 50 percent apiece for Barrett and Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the subject of the recall effort. Walker had a clear lead in independent pre-election polls, so the tie score sent analysts scrambling and buoyed Democratic hopes when the numbers were widely reported elsewhere minutes later at the official poll close time. Just a half hour later, the exit poll shifted to 52 to 48 percent, tilting in Walker’s favor. (The final margin appears to be seven percentage points.) A potential Gov. Barrett era had ended before it started, and a fresh round of bash-the-exit-poll commenced. For the exit poll, it was reminiscent of 2004, when leaked midday results showing Democratic contender John F. Kerry with leads in key states led his own pollster ask the candidate “Can I be the first to call you Mr. President?” These aren’t lone examples: Recall then-senator Barack Obama winning the New Hampshire primary? On Tuesday, as in the other instances, the fault is less about the exit polls themselves, than it is about a widespread, albeit understandable misrepresentation of the numbers. The exit poll is, after all, a poll, complete with a margin of sampling error and other foibles.

Wisconsin: The Influence Industry: In Wisconsin recall, the side with most money won big | The Washington Post

If the Wisconsin recall battle was a test of the power of political spending, the big money won big. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who survived an effort by Wisconsin Democrats to unseat him in a special election on Tuesday, outspent his opponent by more than 7-to-1 and easily overcame massive get-out-the-vote efforts by Democrats. The recall contest ranks as the most expensive in Wisconsin history, with well over $63 million spent by the candidates and interest groups combined. Walker was bolstered by wealthy out-of-state donors who gave as much as $500,000 each to his campaign under special state rules allowing incumbents to ignore contribution limits in a recall election. He raised $30.5 million compared to just $3.9 million by his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, according to data compiled by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The big spending was made possible in part by the landmark Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission , which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited funds on elections and also made it easier for wealthy individuals to bankroll such efforts. Wisconsin was one of a number of states that had previously banned direct election spending by corporations and labor groups. As a result, many Democrats and campaign watchdog groups view the Wisconsin matchup as a test-run of sorts for November, when super PACs and other interest groups could spend $1 billion or more on political ads and organizing efforts in races for the White House and Congress. The outcome has also prompted hand-wringing on the left over whether pro-Democratic groups, which traditionally focus on ground-game organizing rather than advertising, will need to rethink their strategy.

Wisconsin: Walker makes history surviving recall election | Reuters

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker became the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election on Tuesday in a decisive victory that dealt a blow to the labor movement and raised Republican hopes of defeating President Barack Obama in the November election. Unions and liberal activists forced the recall election over a law curbing collective bargaining powers for public sector workers passed soon after Walker took office in 2011. With nearly all of the votes counted, Republican Walker won by 8 percentage points over Democratic challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a bigger victory for the governor over the same challenger than two years ago. Republicans around the country were elated by the result in a state that President Obama won by 14 percentage points in 2008.

Voting Blogs: Walker, most other Republicans reportedly survive Wisconsin recall elections | The Brad Blog

“It was a great demonstration of democracy, whether you agree or disagree with the outcome,” Huffington Post’s political reporter Howard Fineman told Ed Schultz on MSNBC late tonight, while discussing the results of the historic Wisconsin recall elections. Fineman’s comment is either accurate or it is not. Just as the results reported by the computers across the Badger State are either accurate or not. Who knows? Nobody in WI does, and that’s exactly the problem. The early Exit Poll results had reportedly predicted the race between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett a virtual tie, leading media to plan for a long night tonight. A second round of Exit Polls results, however, were said to have given Walker a broader lead over Barrett. Even so, we were told, the race based on the Exit Poll data alone was still “too close to call.” That data was either accurate or it was not.

Wisconsin: Democrats allege robocalls, ‘dirty tricks’ in recall election | JSOnline

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s campaign is warning voters that his opponents might be engaged in “dirty tricks” after some voters said they’ve received robocalls claiming they don’t have to vote Tuesday if they signed the recall petition. The Democratic Party of Milwaukee County also said it is receiving reports of such robocalls and accused supporters of Gov. Scott Walker of placing them. “These tactics aren’t just shady and troubling. They’re un-American and downright criminal,” said Sachin Chheda, Milwaukee County Democratic Party chairman.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin mailings that list voting records set off some neighbors | JSOnline

Jane Boutan thought it was an invasion of privacy. Corrine Greuling worried about her safety. Viola Miller wondered if it could be used to steal her vote. They and others got upset after the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund mailed fliers over the weekend listing people’s names, addresses and whether they voted in the November 2008 and 2010 elections, as well as the same information for a dozen of their neighbors. “What am I supposed to do? Go shame my neighbor? Whether my neighbor voted or not is none of my business,” said Boutan, who lives in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood. The fliers arrived in mailboxes over the weekend. The Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, which is affiliated with the Greater Wisconsin Committee, is a liberal group that has run ads against Republican Gov. Scott Walker to help Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in Tuesday’s recall election. The group did not respond to voicemail and email messages Monday afternoon, so the scope and cost of the effort was not known. But the Journal Sentinel heard from people across the metro area, from Oak Creek to Glendale, and Waukesha to Wauwatosa. Addressed to registered voters, the fliers say: “Who votes is public record! Why do so many people fail to vote? We’ve been talking about the problem for years, but it only seems to get worse. This year, we’re taking a new approach. We’re sending this mailing to you and your neighbors to publicize who does and does not vote.”

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Walker recall: Democrats prep for recall recount | Politico.com

Brace yourself: Wisconsin Democrats say they are preparing for the event that the hotly contested recall race could drag on for weeks, or even longer. Floating the prospect of a recount is, of course, a message that bolsters the party’s claims that the race is closer than people think and that it will go down to the wire — despite polls showing Walker with the lead. Yet there’s reason a recount can’t be so easily dismissed. Walker can’t seem to break his 50 percent ceiling of support among Wisconsin voters. His ballot support has hovered at either 50 percent or 49 percent in 12 of the 14 polls released since early May, and recent polls show the race tightening in the final stretch. “We’re very much anticipating that there’s a chance that we could be in a recount scenario,” said Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He said the party will have more than 440 lawyers in the field on Tuesday “doing election protection activities but also tasked with recount preparation, making sure that we know where absentee ballots are at, making sure that we have a strong handle on what’s happening out there.”

Wisconsin: All eyes on Wisconsin governor’s recall election | Reuters

Wisconsin voters will decide on Tuesday whether to throw Governor Scott Walker out of office in a rare recall election forced by opponents of the Republican’s controversial effort to curb collective bargaining for most unionized government workers. The rematch with Milwaukee’s Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett, who Walker defeated in a Republican sweep of the state in 2010, is the end-game of six months of bitter fighting in the Midwestern Rust Belt state over the union restrictions Walker proposed and enacted. The recall election in closely divided Wisconsin, which helped elect Democrat Barack Obama as president in 2008, is seen as a dress rehearsal for the 2012 U.S. presidential election in November. The vote is also viewed as a test of strength between organized labor and conservative opponents, both of whom have poured money and effort into the contest.

Wisconsin: In recall vote, it’s TV ad spending vs. boots on the ground | The Washington Post

Dozens of men, women, children and dogs showed up early Monday morning outside the Madison Labor Temple, where labor-backed organizers sent them out in search of Democratic votes. Their goal was written in chalk on the sidewalk at their feet: “Barrett or Bust.” If Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) can pull off a come-from-behind win in an election to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Tuesday, it will almost certainly be because of volunteers like these, whom Democrats are counting on to overcome being outspent by tens of millions. Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker will try to become the first governor to successfully overcome a recall in an election Tuesday. Walker is being challenged by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Wisconsin: Election Law Quirk Could Throw Governance Into Disarray | Huffington Post

Right now, Wisconsin has a Republican governor and lieutenant governor. But after Tuesday’s recall elections, the top two officials could be from different parties. In normal elections, the two candidates run on a single ticket. But in recall elections, public officials are on their own. So theoretically, Gov. Scott Walker (R) could hold on to his seat, while Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) could lose to Mahlon Mitchell, meaning Walker would have to work with a Democrat. “Highly unlikely,” former Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold told The Huffington Post when asked about this scenario. Both Mitchell and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) also dismissed the possibility, arguing that people were likely to choose two candidates from the same party. “We don’t see that split-ticket scenario at all. We’re not factoring that in,” said Barrett.

Wisconsin: Second statewide recount may decide Tuesday’s Wisconsin recall election | GazetteXtra

It’s the other “R” word in this historic year of Wisconsin politics: Recount. If recall election vote totals between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett are within a 0.5 percent margin, a free recount can be requested. The apparent loser can ask for a statewide recount, or recounts only in specific counties. Most polls give Walker margins-of-error leads over Barrett, whose supporters say their own surveys show the race is tied. With only 2 percent or 3 percent of poll respondents saying they are undecided, a recount is possible. We’ve seen this recount movie before. Only 13 months ago.

Wisconsin: Report: Recall election most expensive race in Wisconsin history | The Hill

The Wisconsin recall election for GOP Gov. Scott Walker has become the most expensive contest in state history, a non-profit watchdog group said Sunday. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) said more than $63.5 million had been spent by Walker, his Democratic challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and outside groups ahead of Tuesday’s vote. The tally which includes funds spent since November 2011 topped the 2010 gubernatorial contest, which held the previous record of $37.4 million. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the vote would be a “dry run” for Democrats ahead of November. Polls show Walker with a slight edge on Barrett, but Democrats are making a strong push this weekend to close the gap. Former President Bill Clinton visited the state on Friday to stump with Barrett.

Wisconsin: Recall Fever: As Scott Walker Fights To Keep His Post, Recall Elections Spread Across U.S. | International Business Times

It’s uncommon for a gubernatorial or state legislative election to make national headlines. But the upcoming recall election of divisive Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who could be booted less than two years into the job, has been closely tracked by the media and voters, who may be watching the results of the June 5 recall election with a looming thought on their mind — could that happen where I live? The ability to remove an unpopular politician from office, driven by the sheer will of unhappy constituents, is a power that could certainly inspire exasperated citizens. However, that power is not universal. Only 18 U.S. states allow for the recall of state officials, while one other, Illinois, solely permits the recall of a governor (a recent development inspired by the fall of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich as the result of a corruption scandal.) Wisconsin’s recall will pit Walker, a Republican, against Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, whom Walker defeated in the state’s 2010 gubernatorial election. Walker, a Tea Party favorite, campaigned on a deeply conservative platform pledging to, among other things, cut collective bargaining rights for certain state employees in order to pay for a series of tax cuts. That provoked the ire of Democrats and public sector workers, who say the new governor penalized them in order to preserve tax breaks for the wealthiest Wisconsinites.

Wisconsin: Election officials say voter turnout in Wisconsin recall could reach 65 percent | Wisconsin State Journal

Wisconsin election officials are predicting that between 60 to 65 percent of the voting age population, or about 2.6 to 2.8 million people, will cast regular and absentee ballots in the June 5 recall election. That level of turnout would be higher than the 49.7 percent of voters who turned out in the November 2010 gubernatorial general election, in which Gov. Scott Walker beat Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, his current challenger, by about five percentage points. It would not be as high as the 2008 general election for president, when some 69.2 percent of Wisconsin voters turned out to vote.

Wisconsin: Voting in recall election difficult for some Wisconsin residents | The Minnesota Daily

Wisconsin’s recall elections will take place Tuesday, and for many nonresident University of Minnesota students wanting to participate in the election, returning to Wisconsin may not be an option. The historic recall election is a rematch of the 2010 governor’s race that Scott Walker won. After most Wisconsin public workers lost their collective bargaining rights, many called for this recall election. Walker again faces Tom Barrett, currently the mayor of Milwaukee. Absentee ballots allow Wisconsin students a chance to vote from out of state.

Wisconsin: Recall Election: Political Money Talks | NYTimes.com

As Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin faces a well deserved recall votenext month after stripping public unions of their bargaining rights, voters are discovering the generosity of Diane Hendricks. Ms. Hendricks, the billionaire chairwoman of the nation’s largest roofing and siding wholesaler, wrote a check for $500,000 last month to help defend Governor Walker, a Republican, against his Democratic challenger, Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee. The eye-popping donation was made possible by a quirk in the state law for recall campaigns. And Ms. Hendricks has never been shy about what she wants. A newly released piece of documentary video shows her running into Governor Walker two weeks after he took office in 2011. In what was presumed to have been a private discussion, Ms. Hendricks asked, “Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions and become a right to work” state?

Wisconsin: Hundreds wait in line to vote early in recall election | Wisconsin State Journal

On a day when mail carriers didn’t deliver and mourners packed cemeteries for solemn tributes to the dead, hundreds of others stood in long lines outside the Madison city clerk’s office, showing that in this hypercharged election season voting takes no holiday. “I’m amazed,” said voter Allan Wessel of Madison of the turnout, which hit 379 people in four hours and produced 45-minute waits. “We thought there might be a short little line.” The clerk’s office took the unusual step of opening for a half-day on Memorial Day, a federal holiday, to allow people to cast early ballots for the June 5 gubernatorial recall election, the first in state history. The line snaked around the corner to the City Hall entrance and, at times, got so long it turned again at the Parks Department office, creating a J-shaped line of voters who weren’t prepared for the wait.