Walker Evades Recall in Wisconsin

Walker Evades Recall in Wisconsin

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Update:Live official election results here.

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NBC News, CNN, and others have now declared that the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker has failed. Precincts are still reporting, however, as of 10:30 PM EST.

Democratic challenger Tom Barrett conceded defeat just after 11:00 PM EST.

Earlier: Reports of long lines in key voting districts throughout Wisconsin indicate high turnout for the state's recall election today.

The Chippewa Herald reports:

Voters and public officials reported long lines at many Wisconsin polling places Tuesday -- with Dane County Clerk Karen Peters calling the local turnout "just wild."

"It ranges from 28 to 42 percent already; it is a huge turnout. We could hit 80 to 88 percent," Peters said midday of Dane County's turnout. She collected status reports from local clerks.

The state Government Accountability Board was hearing reports of strong turnout statewide, spokesman Reid Magney said.

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Earlier: Wisconsinites head to the polling booth today to decide the fate of Republican Gov. Scott Walker in a vote that will determine the outcome of a contentious recall effort sparked nearly sixteen months ago, after Walker, with the help of the GOP-controlled legislature, pushed through sweeping changes to collective bargaining laws and made huge cuts in public services, including education.

Walker's opponent in the recall is Democratic Mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett. Most recent polls showed Walker -- who has received tens of millions of dollars from politcally conservative outside groups and Super PACs -- leading by slim margins. The Democrats are depending on a large grassroots mobilization and high voter turnout to overpower the huge influx of money by their opposition. Even with significant union support, according to reports, Barrett's campaign will end up being outspent by at least 6-1 and possibly as much as 10-1.

John Nichols, associate editor of the Capital Times in Madison and correspondent for The Nation, put the election in a national context today by stating that the contest in Wisconsin speaks to "the national discourse about economic policy, budget priorities, the role of labor unions in the public sector and democracy itself," and called Walker "the primary American proponent of a European-style austerity agenda" which has championed "cuts to wages, benefits, public services and public education."

Early indications, according the Wisconsin State Journal, suggest that the number of voters today could rival those in a presidential election.

Polls close this evening at 8 PM (9 PM EST).

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John Nichols: A Wisconsin Recall FAQ

Wisconsin is the most mobilized and energized state in the country this week.

Election officials say turnout could be as high as 65 percent -- based on spiked early- and absentee-voting. That's essentially presidential-level engagement.

While silly pundits (think George Will) and political insiders moan about election fatigue, you won't find many actual Wisconsinites complaining. The year-and-a-half long struggle for worker rights and local democracy -- which began in February, 2011, and continues to this day -- has created a level of engagement that is simply unprecedented.

There is anger and passion in Wisconsin, but almost no apathy. This is as the best of the founders of the American experiment intended when they gave to future citizens the right not just to assemble but to petition for the redress of grievances. It is, as well, what Wisconsin progressives hoped for, almost a century ago, when they added a broad recall power to the state Constitution.

"This," as the chants of February and March, 2011, explained, "is what democracy looks like."

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Mother Jones' Andy Kroll: 10 Numbers You Need to Know on Scott Walker Recall Day

Anyone who has followed this year's recall battle in Wisconsin knows the feeling of being buried in news stories, blog posts, tweets, rumors, and innuendo on campaign spending, crime rates, job creation, and the John Doe investigation looming over Gov. Scott Walker. "Frenzy" is a good word to describe the past 16 months in Wisconsin politics. The fight began with Walker's anti-union "budget repair" bill and the protests against it, but since then, Democrats and Republicans have clashed continuously over the governor and his controversial agenda, and political advertisements have blanketed TV and radio.

Let's face it: It's hard to make sense of it all in Wisconsin. So Mother Jones has compiled 10 of the most striking statistics from the recall rumble. They give you a sense of the time, money, and manpower invested by all sides--and how much each side has at stake: here.

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