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    Posted June 5, 2012 by
    La Crosse, Wisconsin
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Election 2012: Your stories

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    The WI RECALL- A True Grassroots Effort


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     mediaman captured the scene at the Recall Headquarter Office in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin, last night, as volunteers reached out to voters by phone and on social media in preparation for today's recall election. 'It is people behind the scenes that have kept the movement going. I have never witnessed such home-grown advocacy, and that is what prompted me to document these events,' he said. mediaman has been covering the grassroots recall effort on iReport for more than a year. 'No matter how this turns out, Wisconsin has inspired the state, the nation, and the world. Without the work of these grassroots advocates from all ages and ethnic make-up, the middle class would not have a voice, or a democracy. ... The polls are open -- let's see what Wisconsin has to say!'
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    On the eve of a historic recall vote in Wisconsin that has national implications, this reporter wanted to provide a firsthand photo essay on what a grassroots effort looks like. While advocates for either the Republican Tea Party or Democratic can consider themselves grass root efforts, the Wisconsin Recall has focused a spotlight on a significant disparity of financial campaign funding between the GOP and Democrats in the state. By some reports, the GOP financial edge in the election has been hovering around nearly a 10:1 advantage, with the ratio dropping slightly in the last week leading up to the vote.


    The definition of “grassroots” typically refers to the common people and is particularly contrasted with the political elite. It seems fitting this name would be used to describe the progressive movement currently in Wisconsin. A visit to a small Recall office in La Crosse, Wisconsin provided some insights into the state’s current grassroots effort.


    Inside the old historic downtown building, a series of card tables and partitions filled the room. A cacophony of voices could be heard throughout the room encouraging people to get out to vote on June 5th. In the background, volunteers cycled through as they ate food in crock pots, cookies, and soda provided by volunteers to keep the telephone crew well fed and watered.


    Walking downstairs, and following a blue line, you could trace the path of election canvassers as they picked up materials to go door-to-door to encourage people to vote, and to vote for Tom Barrett and Malon Mitchell, running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. In the dimly lit rooms you can see the inner workings of a true Wisconsin grassroots effort based more on passion than money. One couple, Don Socha and Janis Hanson walked in to collect their door hangers to distribute around town. Don chuckled that after recovering from knee surgery, he thought about putting a walker on his front lawn with a sign, “Get rid of Walker.” Janis commented, “I am a teacher and we just have to get rid of Scott Walker. He is against education and is just not right for Wisconsin.”


    Upstairs Jean Janecki, a university professor stopped for a quick photo with one of her students. She stopped and smiled saying, “Hurry up and take the picture, I’ve got a lot of canvassing to do!” In an instant she was gone, headed down the block to a neighborhood to make sure people got out to vote.


    What was striking was how these embolden advocates were so passionate for the Wisconsin Recall. Beyond the money, beyond the political ads, beyond the divisive political environment in Wisconsin, this band of grassroots supporters was on a mission to take back their state. Tomorrow Wisconsin, the nation, and the world will have the first glimpse of the outcome. Perhaps some may say this is Wisconsin’s own D-Day for “Decision”, reminiscent of the WWII event nearly 70 years ago. The results of this historic Recall will begin to fill the history books of tomorrow. Stay tuned as another page is written.

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