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Dane County Will Help Drive Supreme Court Race

March 30, 2011

Wisconsin may unseat a conservative State Supreme Court justice come April 5th.

If that happens Dane County will be one place where thanks and offerings of gratitude can be sent.  Milwaukee County may be the other place flowers and candy tributes can be made.

Liberals in both areas are mad as hell, and plan to make sure conservative voters in other areas of the state are outnumbered when the polls close.

There is a serious get-out-the-vote effort underway for two huge races in Dane county.  The first is the one for county executive.  Then in Madison a very spirited contest for mayor is underway.    These two races alone will make for a huge turnout.

But on top of all that is a little nasty issue about assaulting state workers and public employees that has outraged Dane County.

Which brings us to David Prosser.

I bet Prosser wishes his race for reelection was almost any other year. 

Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said Monday that early absentee voting was “unusually high” for an April election. She expects to have as many or more early absentee ballots cast in Madison as in the high-turnout 2008 presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.  When the pace of “early” voting began to exceed that of last fall’s governor’s race, the city ordered more absentee ballots.

Meanwhile in Milwaukee County there is also a county executive race that will add many voters at the polls come Tuesday.

But with the added element of the state’s budget fight, it’s seems more likely that a turnout surge in Milwaukee County would be left-leaning rather than right-leaning. The court race could influence the county executive race as much as or more than the other way around.  

Either way, we can expect a larger than normal Supreme Court vote out of both Milwaukee and Dane counties. While state election officials have forecast a statewide turnout that’s fairly typical for a contested Supreme Court race (20% of voting-age adults), it would be surprising at this point if it weren’t higher, given the politics of the budget battle and local election factors. (You can find the Government Accountability Board’s chart for turnout in all Supreme Court races since 2000 here). 

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