Polls close; Voters whittle down legislative field

Clerk: Madison voter turnout is about 15 percent
Polls close; Voters whittle down legislative field

Wisconsin voters are whittling down a lengthy slate of legislative candidates.

Tuesday’s elections featured primaries in 44 of the state’s 132 legislative districts. The races include a jumble of candidates.

Nine Democrats, for example, are fighting it out in central Wisconsin’s 71st Assembly District. Fourteen Assembly incumbents and one Senate incumbent face challengers. 

The contests will set the ballot for November’s elections, which will determine legislative control and the shape of state politics for the next two years.

Still, the races look like a sleepy affair. State election officials predict only about 20 percent of Wisconsin’s voting age population will bother to visit the polls.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, almost 25,600 voters have made it to the 88 polling locations across the city of Madison, which is a 15 percent turnout.

Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said she expected a little more than a quarter of eligible voters to come out Tuesday.

“We’ve had some September primaries where the turnout was as low as 4 percent. We’ll often have a fall primary where turnout is around 20 percent, so I think part of it depends what’s on the ballot and how excited voters are about those races,” Witzel-Behl said.

The clerk said the single-party voting for this primary, where voters can’t cross party lines on their ballot, has caused some confusion.

Witzel-Behl said Tuesday’s results are “unofficial” until all of the absentee ballots are tallied up. More than 1,000 sent out in Madison are not accounted for yet.