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Obama, McCain Win Big In Wisconsin: Turnout Breaks Records, Largest Since 1988

This story was written by Hannah McClung, The Daily Cardinal

Students braved the snow and long lines to vote in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday, with officials projecting one of the highest turnouts in decades.

Bonny Chang, a first-time poll worker, said voting lines at Tripp Commons in Memorial Union were at a minimum length in the morning, but voters came in droves once classes were let out.

UW-Madison freshman Sally Debauche said she voted because of her "sense of obligation." It was her first time voting and said the lines were confusing, but otherwise the process was a good experience.

Caitlin Sachs, a UW-Madison freshman, said she voted "to make a difference." She said her decision was based off of information she found online and a questionnaire she completed to compare her views on issues among the different candidates.

Dane County Chief Clerk Bob Ohlsen said turnout was around 25 to 30 percent at 6:00 p.m., although not all wards had fully reported.

The voting numbers were similar to projections from the state Government Accountability Board, which said turnout statewide would be close to 35 percent, the highest since 1988.

Ohlsen said the cold weather and snow likely decreased the amount of people at the polls.

Voters at Memorial Library came in waves based on class schedules, said Ann Waidelich, chief polling inspector at the site.

Waidelich said there were not many unexpected issues or concerns throughout the day. Students who came without a proper form of identification were often willing to retrieve what was necessary to vote, according to Waidelich.

Gordon Commons, the voting location for the southeast dorms, was one of the busiest polling locations on campus.

Adam Young, chief inspector at Gordon Commons and poll worker since 1984, said Tuesday was the highest turnout for a presidential primary he had ever seen.

Young said in-person turnout was just as high as absentee ballot turnout.

UW-Madison junior Paloma Nozicka said the polling process in Madison has been smooth every time she has voted.

"[Madison] provides easy access to first year students to vote right on campus," said Nozicka.
© 2008 The Daily Cardinal via U-WIRE

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