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Frustrations, excitement grip voters on election day in Wisconsin

By   /   June 5, 2012  /   No Comments

Voters line up at a precinct on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee.


By Yaël Ossowski | Wisconsin Reporter

MILWAUKEE — At Marquette University in downtown, the line to vote extended past the entrance of the door and turned left down a hallway of offices.

Students with backpacks stood alongside dozens of parents towing child behind them, giving them a glimpse of the tranquil process that has been preceded by so much discord, disunion and disagreement among friends and families in the state of Wisconsin.

More than 19 months after voters last where given the option of Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett for governor, they were being asked to make the same choice — and early exit polls confirm that the results won’t be too different from the previous go around.

In the very front of the line at Marquette, three poll workers flipped through 2-inch notebooks filled with paperwork procedures to help previously unregistered voters make their vote count on election day.

At this polling place alone,close to three-fourths of voters in the early morning registered on the spot, a process that slowed up the line and frustrate many other voters.

“You know I’ve never voted in my life and now I know why,” said Linda Rogers of Milwaukee, who arrived at the polls near lunchtime to find a line with hundreds of waiting voters. “Looks like I’m not voting again this year.”

Lee Hinton, a 35-year old church employee, said he didn’t mind waiting to vote on this day, adding that he was happy to go through the process.

“I was in line about an hour, but I finally got to register and vote,” said Hinton. “I think I voted about four or five years ago, but I just went ahead and registered again and I’m just happy to get that Democratic ballot in there.”

Other voters were observed arriving with personal checks and magazine subscription letters to prove their current address, but the election official in charge reminded them that it’d be best to “get a utility bill or your license or something,” in order to vote.

Before the polls even close, accusations of voter fraud and suppression began flying.

State Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, wrote a letter to the state Government Accountability Board charging that “as has been reported in the media and throughout social networks, there are groups spreading false information about today’s elections.”

Similarly, the Democratic Party has indicated that it is ready for any anomaly in the voting process —even a recount if necessary.

Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, told POLITICO that more than 440 lawyers were in the field 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.”