Wisconsin's Primary; Smooth Sailing So Far

Tonight, judging from early reports from Wisconsin, home to an open primary, it appears the state's presidential runoff ran smoothly and with few delays...

February 20, 2008

wisconsin
Tonight, judging from early reports from Wisconsin, the buckle of the Dairy Belt (if such a belt exists) and home to an "open" primary, it appears the state's presidential runoff ran relatively smoothly and with few delays. Prior to today, some raised concerns that a high voter turnout could cause long lines at the polls due to new registration guidelines and Election Day voter registration.

Turnout was expected to be 35%, the highest in 20 years according to the Associated Press.

Midday, we spoke to Kyle Richmond, spokesmen for the Wisconsin Goverment Accountability Board which oversees elections. He reported no delays or problems at the polls.

Similarly, Dane County clerk Robert Ohlsen told us voting was proceeding as planned. He conceeded, however, the morning turnout was lower than expected due to poor weather. Additionally, he went on to explain it was still before noon in the Midwest and that University of Wisconsin students, a large voting demographic in the Madison and Dane County area, generally cast their ballots much, much later in the day. So the opportunity for problems to arise still existed.

Reached for comment at 10pm EST, well after the polls closed, and UW students presumably made it out of bed and to the voting booth, Mr. Ohlsen claimed he had not heard of any major problems statewide though he did tell us that the Madison office needed more voter registration forms.

"Tomorrow we'll have a better indication as to whether or not there were any real problems," he continued. "You'd really need to check with the Madison office specifically to get a better read there."

Maribeth Witzel-Behl, city clerk of Madison, was still dealing with returns and far too busy comment when contacted. We hope to hear from her early tomorrow morning.

Regardless, both the major newspapers and Wisconsin Vote have yet to mention any problems caused by Wisconsin's open Voter registration laws.

Hopefully, no news is good news.

Let us know if you hear of anything: Thaddeus.kromelis@nyu.edu