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Election Day: Early Turnout High, Steady, Despite Some Confusion

Some District 1 voters redirected after receiving conflicting instructions on their correct polling place. Overall, though, morning turnout was substantial.

Gov. Scott Walker came out to vote Tuesday early and alone, accompanied by no fanfare and followed by no media, casting the fifth ballot recorded in his home Ward 11 of District 4 of Wauwatosa.

"I think he must have been waiting at the door," said election observer Bill Leum, assigned to the ward polling place at . "He was leaving when I showed up at 7:05."

At least Walker knew where to go to vote.

District 1 resident Julie O'Keeffe showed up at at mid-morning, as she had been instructed in a notice from the city – only to be told she needed to vote at .

It was the first time the fire station was being used as a polling place, after School District officials asked earlier this year that no longer be used for voting because of security concerns.

At that point, O'Keeffe was among about a dozen voters sent from the fire station to Washington in a mix-up resulting from the city trying to deal with both redistricting and the new polling place.

Deputy City Clerk Susan Van Hoven said that after redistricting went into effect for the Feb. 21 primary, "There was a notice that was sent out by mistake, with a wrong set of addresses," telling a number of District 1 voters to go to the fire station.

"When we discovered the mistake, we sent out a letter saying 'Please disregard the earlier notice,'" Van Hoven said. "We did try to correct that, but apparently some people read the notice but not the letter."

Van Hoven said that to add to the difficulties, robocalls from one of the candidates incorrectly advised some voters to go to the wrong polls.

"In some areas, the north and south sides of the same street vote at different places," she said. "They just looked at the whole street. There was some confusion in that."

In spite of the confusion, voting at the station, Ward 1 of District 1, was "very steady," said poll worker Peg Broker at 10:30 a.m., with 206 votes cast. That amounted to about a 15 percent turnout just by mid-morning, Broker said.

By a little after 11:30, that had climbed to over 20 percent, with 269 votes cast.

At Washington, where O'Keeffe was able to cast her vote after her detour, Wards 2 and 3 of District 1 also were around 15 percent turnout by mid-morning, with 346 votes cast between them.

O'Keeffe voted for Kathy Ehley over Pete Donegan for mayor, she said, because of her experience with the Village Business Improvement District and "her history of a collaborative approach."

Also, she said, "I think we need more female leadership. I feel women have been socialized away from claiming their power."

District 1 is the only contested aldermanic district with no incumbent, and O'Keeffe chose Jeffrey Kroll over Jim Moldenhauer because, "He's a sociologist, which I think shows he has an appreciation of group dynamics.

"Also, he worked for the for, like, seven years, so he has some experience with the city."

At Jefferson, where Ward 11 and 12, District 4, residents vote, the turnout was unusually high in No. 12, with 320 votes cast by 11 a.m., already well over 20 percent.

Ward 11 was lower, with about 15 percent (160 votes cast).

"Ward 12 always has a better turnout," said poll worker Jill Gaertner. "I don't really know why, but it does. Ward 11 has been steady, though."

At , split between wards of two districts, voting was also steady and much higher than in the February municipal primary.

At 11:30 a.m., Ward 6 of District 2 had recorded 141 votes, 14 percent of just 1,012 voters residing there. In the larger Ward 7, District 3, 309 of 1,700 voters had cast their ballots, just shy of a 20 percent turnout with more than eight hours of polling left in the day.

Josie April 03, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Well, I voted too but I voted for Pete Donegan. We've had enough female Mayors, and none of the last four were very impressive. Donegan's resume outstrips Ehley's, and I have to believe his success in business assumes a collaborative approach, see his website and endorsement by former employees www.petedonegan.com.
Exrepublican April 04, 2012 at 02:18 AM
I voted for Ehley. I want the city to head in the right direction.
Random Blog Commenter April 04, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I questioned Mr. Price about why he only quoted a voter who shared the same views he did (read his Patch bio) and not one representing both candidates....I said that he should basically quote from both sides or none at all.........and that comment was censored. Why is that Mr. Price?

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