The lack of any hotly contested statewide races on the ballot is expected to keep turnout for Wisconsin’s August 9 primary relatively low.
Only about 16 percent of voting age adults statewide are expected to cast a ballot in the primary, according to state Elections Commission head Mike Haas. “We have some races locally that might drive the turnout a little higher, but there does not appear to be a statewide primary that across the board is going to generate elevated turnout,” Haas said.
The primary ballot features mostly congressional and state legislative primaries, with the only statewide race coming from the U.S. Senate. Democrats Russ Feingold and Scott Harbach are both vying to take on incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in November, although Haas said feedback from clerks shows most do not see it as much of a factor in their turnout projections. Feingold previously held the seat, which he lost to Johnson in the 2010 election.
Haas said voters should remember that, since it is a partisan primary, they will have to stick to a single party on the ballot. Voting for candidates across parties will result in a ballot being rejected.
Also, while a recent court ruling could allow voters without an approved government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot in November by signing an affidavit, that option will not be in effect for the primary. Haas says voters will still have to comply with the current requirement when they head to the polls a week from Tuesday.