Taking the Fight to the Ballot Box: Wisconsin’s Recall Election Primaries

By Sam Mayfield

Nine Wisconsin State Senators, including six Republicans and three Democrats, are running in recall elections this summer in response to voter outrage over the questionable process used when Republicans cast votes on the bill to strip public workers of their unions. Republicans forced Democrats to hold primaries in the six Republican incumbents districts by recruiting Republicans to run as “protest candidates” in the Democratic primary. All of the “protest candidates” lost.

For this video, we checked in on the primary race in Senator Luther Olsen’s district. Senator Olsen represents the Central Wisconsin communities of Baraboo, Wisconsin Dells, Portage, Waupaca and New London, among others. Senator Olsen faced two challengers today: Democratic Representative Fred Clark and GOP Protest candidate Rol Church.

We stopped in on all three polling places in Baraboo. Turnout was light, with each polling place reporting fewer than 200 voters as of 10am. Ida DeKeyser and Karen Lawson, two poll workers at Baraboo’s East School, said they usually see a thousand people vote in a typical spring election.

As voter Bill Schlewey said “Wisconsinites are known fighters and this is another fight we’re not going to go down easy on.” Sam Mayfield, is working on a documentary film about the gentle uprising in Wisconsin. For more information visit her blog.

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