Polls close in Wisconsin recall election - KMSP-TV

Polls close in Wisconsin recall election

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Polls are now closed in the historic Wisconsin recall election after a potential record number of voters turned out to decide whether Republican Gov. Scott Walker should stay on the job or be replaced by the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett.

Walker voted Tuesday morning in Wauwatosa. Polls show him with a slight three percent lead, but that's well within the margin of error.

The recall vote took place just 18 months after he entered office and gutted collective bargaining rights for state employees.

Walker's Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, voted in his city, where he actually had to wait through a half-hour line. He's been painting Walker as a Tea Party extremist, and both men used the final hours to make their final pitch to voters.

"Obviously the lines are very, very long which we take as a very encouraging sign," Barrett said of the turnout. "People are engaged in this, but as we noted in the last 96 hours, around the state the energy has been building and building and building."

"I think most people are happy to have the election over," Walker said. "I think certainly for my family and I think most voters in the state wanted to have all of the attack ads off. They want to have their TVs back. They want to have their lives back."

One of the major stories Tuesday will be voter turnout. Across the state in both Republican and Democratic strongholds, it looks like voter turnout will be extremely high -- in the neighborhood of 60 to 65 percent.

We went to Olbrich Gardens on Madison's east side -- a Democratic stronghold -- where voting was extremely smooth. There were two election observers on hand, one from each party, looking for any irregularities and finding none.

"It's been great," election judge Jeannie Retelle said. "Had a line out the door for the first hour. Over 800 voters. It's on par or greater than a presidential election."

Polling places across the state reported long lines, and Milwaukee had to bring in extra poll workers due to the volume.

Four state senators are also facing recall tonight. Losing just one Republican seat would change the balance of power in the state Legislature, which currently has 16 Democrats and 16 Republicans in the Senate.

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