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Ten percent turnout predicted for Supreme Court primary

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Wisconsin officials are predicting only about 10 percent of eligible voters will turn out for Tuesday’ s primary election for the state Supreme Court and various local offices.

Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board expects that about 444,000 of the nearly 4.45 million state residents who are of voting age will cast ballots on Tuesday. GAB officials made that prediction in part after looking at results from 2011’s spring primary election, when 9.6 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in a contest that also featured a Supreme Court race.

Kevin Kennedy, GAB director and general counsel, said turnout could receive a boost Tuesday from interest generated by the ongoing presidential campaigns.

“It is a presidential election year and we are seeing voters are more engaged as evidenced by the recent Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries, as well as the two presidential debates held in Wisconsin,” he said.

In Tuesday’s primary, voters from throughout Wisconsin will get to cast ballots for one of three candidates who are vying to fill a seat on the state Supreme Court recently vacated by the death of Justice N. Patrick Crooks. The candidates are:

  • Rebecca Bradley, a former appellate judge and Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge who was temporarily appointed by Gov. Scott Walker last year to the vacant Supreme Court seat;
  • Joe Donald, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge and former Milwaukee assistant city attorney; and
  • JoAnne Kloppenburg, presiding judge of the state’s District 4 Court of Appeals and a former assistant attorney general at the state Department of Justice.

The two candidates who get the most votes in Tuesday’s primary will move on to compete in the general election held on April 5.

Aside from the Supreme Court contest, elections will also be held Tuesday for circuit court judge in Iowa, Kewaunee, Portage and Walworth counties. Also up for election will be the Milwaukee Mayor and various other local officials.

Those who intend to vote cannot fill out a ballot without first producing a valid form of identification. Tuesday’s election will be the first statewide election to be held since the reinstatement of the state’s voter-ID law.

For more information on which IDs are acceptable and how to get a free ID for voting, go to bringit.wi.gov or call 1-866-VOTE-WIS (868-3947).

About Dan Shaw, [email protected]

Dan Shaw is the managing editor at the Wisconsin Law Journal. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 414-225-1807.

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