Video by Wisconsin blogger Blue Cheddar
Turnout is expected to be high tomorrow, but the unexpected is also expected:
City clerks in both Fond du Lac and Oshkosh say requests for absentee ballots have been brisk as well as the number of residents stopping at the counter to vote via absentee ballot in advance of the election.
Fond du Lac City Clerk Sue Strands said her office has mailed out more than 900 absentee ballots and assisted over 500 walk-ins casting ballots at the counter. Strands predicts voter turnout to be heavy, with as many as 80 percent of the city's 21,670 registered voters casting ballots.
History in the making
"It's hard to predict because this has never happened before — it's history in the making," said Strands, adding that her office is ready for an 80 to 90 percent turnout. "It could be less, but we're prepared.
All of us who have been writing about the recalls need to emphasize and repeat that last point: we don't know what to expect. Predictive modeling for upcoming elections is based on analysis of past elections. That creates a problem when it comes to forecasting six simultaneous recall elections, as there were only 20 recall elections against state legislators in history before this year. Our collective lack of prior experience means that tomorrow could be full of surprises:
“We don’t have a precedent for this,” Mark Mellman, the well respected Dem pollster who is conducting recall polling for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, acknowledged to me. “The nature of the turnout is so uncertain that it really will make a huge difference. We’re dealing with big uncertainties.”
Mellman said that three of the key races — though he wouldn’t specify which — are so close that if turnout doesn’t break the Dems’ way, it could throw them to Republicans. He described them as “all very close races that could go either way.”
The three decisive races Mellman is referencing are likely districts 8, 14 and 18, currently held by Republicans Alberta Darling, Luther Olsen and Randy Hopper. Whichever party wins two of those three will have a majority in the Wisconsin state senate.
All we can keep doing is getting out the vote, and there are still plenty of opportunities to do that on Election Day. If you are in Wisconsin, go door to door with We Are Wisconsin. Everywhere else, you can make phone calls with either the Democratic Party of Wisconsin or DFA and the PCCC.