Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Polls Open For Wisconsin Recall Vote - NYTimes.com

Polls Open For Wisconsin Recall Vote - NYTimes.com

Polling stations opened Tuesday morning in Wisconsin as voters cast ballots to decide whether to remove six Republican state senators, the latest chapter in what has been one of the most polarized, vitriolic political years in the state in memory.

Republicans hold a 19-to-14 advantage in the State Senate, so the election could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in the upper chamber, but the vote is being more widely seen as a referendum on the policies of the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, and as a potential preview of the 2012 presidential election in Wisconsin, which is expected to be a crucial swing state.

Within Wisconsin, where the recall efforts took root during a fierce standoff in the Legislature over the collective-bargaining cuts, the signs of anger are everywhere. Complaints of stolen campaign signs have cropped up in many Senate districts. Claims of dirty tricks (including reports of misleading campaign literature and gift-card offers in exchange for votes) are rampant. And Mr. Walker, who has become a focus of this state’s division and who may himself face recall next year, has been greeted with dueling contingents of protesters and supporters in even the most traditionally polite setting, the opening festivities last week in West Allis for the State Fair.

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