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Wisconsin recall election: Why voters can't wait for it to end

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The dead heat of recent months is expected to result in an election that breaks state records for voter turnout. State election officials say they expect about 65 percent of eligible voters to show up Tuesday; the average turnout in a Wisconsin midterm election is 47 percent, and the state’s previous record was 52 percent for a nonpresidential election, in 1962.

In addition to the governor’s race, the recall ballot asks Wisconsinites to consider ousting the lieutenant governor and four state senators, all Republicans. The Senate race is crucial: It will determine which party controls the state Senate through late fall.

Many voters who supported Walker Tuesday said their decision was not necessarily because they fully support his budget reforms, which included curbing collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions, or because they believe he is untarnished as a candidate. Instead, they said Walker got their vote because they feel a need to send a message about the inherent unfairness of the recall process itself.

“It’s money that didn’t need to be spent. For what? Nobody’s going to like whatever everybody does,” says Chris Carie, an insurance appraiser.

Standing outside the village hall in Union Grove, Wis., Lee LaMeer, who is self-employed, described the recall as “crazy” and says it was “a relief” to end it by voting.

“There was so much mud-slinging; it’s time to get it over with and move forward,” Mr. LaMeer says.

For that to happen, Barrett supporters argued that the recall was a necessity. Yet even they agreed that neither candidate, nor their state, will emerge unscathed.

“I’m kind of sick of it. It became one huge smear campaign. I hoped they would act more like adults,” says Christine, a Barrett backer and a Target worker in Union Grove, Wis., who asked to withhold her last name because of privacy concerns. She says that despite her aversion toward the whole process, she voted because “nothing will change it if you stay at home and do nothing.”

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