Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Tuesday’s Supreme Court turnout in Wisconsin was off the charts

April 6, 2011- Absolutely massive for a spring election, Tuesday’s turnout is unmistakable evidence of the impact the state’s budget and labor wars are having on Wisconsin voters.

With 99% of the returns in, almost 1.5 million people had voted in the state Supreme Court race, which would represent a turnout of 33.5% of voting-age adults.

That’s 68% higher than the official state prediction of 20% turnout, which was based on recent historical norms.

A 20% turnout would be about 874,000 votes. Tuesday’s turnout exceeded that by almost 600,000 votes.

The chart below shows the percentage of voting-age adults who have voted in contested Supreme Court elections since 2000:

Keep in mind that this is a nonpartisan spring election – which historically draws far fewer voters than fall elections – and a judicial race in which the candidates themselves are practically invisible to average voters.

A contest between David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg drew almost as many Wisconsinites to the polls as the combined turnout in the state’s 2008 February presidential primaries, which had Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani on the two partisan ballots.


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