- Posted January 10, 2012 by
200 Miles of Wisconsin- Recall Signs Pave the Way
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
Since February of 2011, there has been a huge push in Wisconsin to recall Governor Walker. In November, Wisconsin citizens were given the chance to collect enough petitions to force a recall election of the governor. It has been reported by some the recall effort is only coming from certain areas of the state. To find out the truth, this reporter drove 200 miles from La Crosse to Brookfield, a suburb of Milwaukee, to document pro-Recall and pro-Walker signs along the way. One of the most innovative signs was at mile 200, near Brookfield were a series of Wisconsin license plates saying “Recall Walker” were used by volunteers waving to honking motorists on Bluemound Road. But, it was at the rural locations and highways that provided a more personal and insightful view of the recall issue.
Mile 25- Viroqua, WI Population 4400. Found a large recall sign petition signing location at the Democratic headquarters. Petitioners walked the downtown streets to find potential recall signers.
Mile 36- Readstown, WI Population 395. Found a “Stand with Walker” sign and 4 “Recall Walker” signs.
Mile 40- Outside Readstown in a rural area, I found a two-sign display, one professionally printed, the other hand stenciled. The recall signs gave the impression that perhaps they were the work of a Wisconsin hunter. It was merely speculation.
Mile 41- A few miles further I found a typical Wisconsin farm with a sign prominently displayed saying, “Keep Walker.” The sign suggests there was some farm support for the Governor.
Mile 43- Just ahead another reminder that some citizens see the recall as a “power grab” for money and power as it read, “Recallers want your money and their power.” A somewhat ominous message.
Mile 83- Spring Green, WI Population 1444. A ranch proudly states, “Keep Walker, No More Recalls.” Evidently this sign supports the Governor, but also suggests the owner does not like the idea of recalls.
Mile 90 Arena, WI Population 685. A large red sign tells motorists that a Recall Station is ahead.
Mile 91 Bob’s BBQ Emporium serves as a Recall Walker site. I think ribs were still on the menu.
Mile 97 Mazomanie, WI, population 1485. A group of petition gatherers stopped to talk about why they were working for the recall effort. Jim Schroeder, a retired educator said, “We are getting closer to our goal. So far we’ve got 100 signatures this week.” When another volunteer was asked about gathering petitions, Joanne Ellarson said, “People have been honking their horns in support. A few people have been giving us “thumbs down”, and some have been giving us “the bird.” Joanne stood there undeterred as more cars drove by, still honking. She held up her clipboard with petitions ready for the next petition signer.
Mile 105- Black Earth, WI Population 1320. Another recall center was set up with pink flamingos and palm trees. The palm trees were an obvious reference to a national Fox News report that used violent protest footage from California when talking about the Madison protests. This recall group was upbeat, and had a sense a humor.
Mile 200- Brookfield, WI Population 37,920. This is where the trip ended, with several people holding up life-sized Wisconsin license plates saying, “Recall Walker.”
What can we learn from this cross section of 200 miles of Wisconsin? First, it clearly shows the recall effort is not an isolated event but a state-wide issue. If we tabulate the number of signs found, it would show approximately 70% for the recall, 30% for Walker. However, yard signs are not an accurate measurement of how people vote. In the end, 200 miles tells us that is a divided state, a polarized state, and a state under siege by an unprecedented recall event. In less than a week Wisconsin and the U.S. will know if enough recall signatures will be collected to force the state’s first Governor recall election. If successful, we will know two things, an upcoming election, and many, many more signs.