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This is what motivates Wisconsin voters to cast a ballot in a partisan primary

people voting
Posted at 8:41 PM, Aug 09, 2022

MILWAUKEE — It is Election Day, but not everyone can vote in every race since it is a partisan primary. That means people can only vote for candidates in a single party.

So what pushes people to come out and vote? The answer is not the same for everyone.

“I always vote. Every single possibility, I always vote,” said Milwaukee voter Jack Dierks.

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Jack Dierks, a voter from Milwaukee says he never misses a chance to cast a ballot. (August 9, 2022)

Others are motivated by the person running.

“I’m motivated by the candidate,” said Milwaukee voter Arrie Farmer. “We need to see some change in this world, in this city. We really need somebody who is going to do what they say they are going to do.”

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Arrie Farmer, a Milwaukee voter, says she is motivated to come out and cast a ballot for a specific candidate.

University of Wisconsin Madison Political Science professor Kenneth Mayer says the research shows when it comes to primary voting there is not one motivating factor.

“It’s a mix of things. It's the candidate, it's the party, it's the familiarity, it's the amount of attention people are paying. There is a list of things,” said Mayer.

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Historically, voter turnout is low for partisan primaries in the state. In 2020, the turnout for the presidential primary was 35 percent. In 2018, a non-presidential year, the partisan primary turnout was 23 percent. Compare that to the General Election in 2020, voter turnout was 73 percent.

And just like people choosing to vote, Mayer says there is a list of factors on why people choose not to.

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Milwaukee voters cast their ballots at Riverside University High School in Milwaukee. (August 9, 2022)

“There is less attention to it. There is less coverage. Most people are sort of peripherally engaged in politics, they don’t follow it,” said Mayer.

Mayer says sometimes people pull primary ballots from other parties to vote for who they think their candidate has a better chance at beating. But he says that motivation Is much lower than other factors.

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People wait to get their ballot at Riverside University High School in Milwaukee.

“It is personal for me whether they win or not. I went, I tried. That’s the way I feel about it,” said Farmer.

The polls closed at 8 p.m. Again this is a primary election. The top vote-getters take on each other in the General Election on Nov. 8.

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