9:00 PM – Well, that was quick. Despite only 25 percent of the vote being in and exit voting that shows a dead heat, NBC News has called the race for Walker. Oddly enough, despite a Walker win, exit polling shows that President Barack Obama would win handily in the state among those who voted today, with Obama leading Romney 53-42.
Is the recall as sign of what will happen in November? If so, it is a totally mixed message.
8:30 PM – The polls are closed and that means….absolutely nothing. With reports that polling places all over Milwaukee ran out of registration forms hours earlier, many voters had to wait in extra long lines, and as long as you are in line by 8 p.m., you still get to vote.
The Drudge report declared Scott Walker the winner hours ago based on exit polling no one else seems to have seen, and before many had even voted, however, the President has also said that Walker is likely to hang on to his seat, and this election is no reflection on likely results in November. Which makes this perhaps the only time that Drudge and Obama have ever agreed.
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With 6 percent of the vote in, Walker is leading Barrett by nearly 20 points. Exit polls already show a tie — and a very long night.
Right now the Walker-Barrett race is so close in the exit polling there appears little chance it will be called by media outlets until deep into the vote-counting.
Some notable patterns in the exit polling:
Union households are a larger slice of this electorate (33% of the vote Tuesday) than in 2010 (26%). That’s important because this group is voting even more heavily against Walker (64% to 35%), than it did in 2010.
Conservatives appears to be a smaller slice of this electorate (34% of 2012 voters) than in 2010 (when they made up 37% of the vote).
Walker has lost ground among independents since 2010. Independents voted 56% to 42% for Walker over Barrett in 2010, but favor him only by 50% to 49% in Tuesday’s exit polling.
Walker also appears to have lost ground among women. He lost women by three points, 48% to 51%, in 2010. But this time he is losing them by 12 points, 56% to 44%.
4:00 PM – It’s getting late, we have four hours until the polls close, and turnout has been phenomenal. The Huffington Post reports that Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is doing on the ground efforts on behalf of Tom Barrett, and the electorate is feeling quite energized.
“The enthusiasm on the ground is amazing,” said Stephanie Wilson, a spokesperson for PPWI. “This election is going to be to a lot closer than people are anticipating.”
Wilson told The Huffington Post that it has canvassers going door to door all over the state to motivate people to vote. Based on their reports, polling locations are running out of ballots and voter registration forms in Milwaukee, voters are bringing to the polls friends and family members who have never voted before, and women’s issues are playing heavily into people’s decisions.
Fox News is claiming that buses full of union supporters are being driven from Michigan to Wisconsin in order to claim they are Wisconsin residents and vote for Barrett.
[Radio Show Host Chris] PLANTE:
You’re on a bus full of people going from Michigan to Wisconsin and you believe that most of the people on the bus..other than yourself..you believe that ALL of the people other than yourself are going there to vote for Tom Barrett
Most of them are Democrat..it’s a Democratic union..its actually a Democratic union organized by Democrats. But I’m not goin on there to vote for the Democrat. I’m going on there to vote for Scott Walker. Once I heard about it I- I was thinking, hey..this is an opportunity to sabotage what they always do to Republicans.
But you’re all alone on this bus whispering into your cell phone
Well I dont know if theres other people with my intentions but I know most of these people..most of these people..their intentions are to go vote for Democrats. I mean I know why people vote for Democrats, man they give out all kinds of free stuff Chris!
And, as expected, student voters are having one problem after another at the polls.
11:30 AM -Wonder how one little change in voter laws could conceivably tip an election? Think Progress looks at how a minor change in residency law could potentially leave thousands of college students without the ability to vote today.
[A]ny student at these schools who registered to vote at school but is now home for the summer will not be permitted to update their registration at their parents’ house because they will have been home for less than 28 days. Under the old law, a student not on campus for the summer would have been permitted to update her registration at the polls and vote because she will have been home (or elsewhere off-campus) for more than 10 days.
As a result, thousands of Wisconsin students will likely be barred from taking part in today’s recall vote.
How high is voter turnout? Many polling places are showing lines already, and officials are encouraging people to come in the early afternoon to vote, rather than get stuck in a likely post-work rush.
“If you get a chance to vote this afternoon, when we expect a lull in activity, it might be a good time to go.” High turnout in Milwaukee County was anticipated to be a good sign for Democratic candidate Tom Barrett, who is Milwaukee’s mayor.
It was the same across the state, including Waukesha County – a typical stronghold of support for incumbent Republican Scott Walker.
“We’re hearing reports of strong voter turnout. I got a report out of Oconomowoc, it took an hour to get through the line at 7:15 a.m.” said the Government Accountability Board’s Reid Magney.
What do the opposing candidates’ last minute rallies look like? Read Rick Perlstein’s piece at Rolling Stone to see some stark contrasts in campaign styles.
10:00 AM – Well over half of the state is expected to hit the polls in Wisconsin, where voters will have a chance to decide whether or not Republican Governor Scott Walker will be finishing off his first term in office, or be booted in favor of Democrat Tom Barrett.
Polls opened at 8:00 A.M. central, and within 30 minutes reports were already filtering into twitter of high turnout, with voters claiming hundreds of votes were already cast at their local polling places. This morning news organizations projected close to a 65 percent turnout — near presidential election level numbers, and far more voters than during the 2010 midterm election that put Walker into office.
But will that massive turnout favor the Republican or the Democratic candidate? That may be hard to tell until all of the votes are in. As of 10 A.M., there has been little chatter of problems at the polls or much in the way of potential voter suppression. The only allegation of misdoings at this point is the accusation of robo-calls informing voters incorrectly that if they signed a petition to recall Walker, they did not need to go to the polls to vote.
Polls are open until 8:00 P.M. central, and we will be updating this post all day.