32 Wisconsin communities had referenda on the ballots Tuesday asking if the troops in Iraq should be brought home. The questions varied from "...immediately" to "...slow and planned draw-down", with one community, Evansville, asking two questions: Bring them home now? and "We support the president of the United States...troops should stay as long as necessary...". 24 of the 32 communities voted "Yes" to bringing the troops in Iraq home. 8 voted "No" with Watertown delivering the largest no vote percentage: 74%. Madison had the highest "Yes" percentage with 68% supporting bringing them home "immediately." Madison was also the largest community with a referenda on the war.
Although, obviously, none of the referenda affect policy, it is sending a message to our elected leaders. A majority of people are clearly opposed to continuing the war in Iraq. In the interest of "fair disclosure", the referenda represented about 325,000 Wisconsin residents, which is only about 6% of the state's entire population. Similar referenda will be on November ballots in Milwaukee (Wisconsin's largest city) and other communities, with anti-war groups promising more referenda on ballots in November.
Opponents are spinning that "turnout was low" because Spring elections have a historically low voter turnout. However, it appears that at least in Madison, there were more people who took the time out to exercise their constitutional right to vote then in previous years. Evansville, which had the most interesting set of questions (support Bush and war; or Withdraw), voted by narrow margins to say "No" to supporting Bush and war and "Yes" to bringing troops home now. Given the relatively right leaning opinions in Evansville, this is a resounding victory for the peace movement. It is truly showing and representative that a majority of americans grow weary of Bush's lack of planning and execution, and these feelings will only continue to multiply over the next several months.
I was pleased to be able to make my voice heard in Madison's referenda. And I remind everyone: VOTE. It is your right, and your constitutional duty. I usually skipped the spring elections, but this issue got me to research all the choices on yesterday's ballot and take the time to decide and go cast my vote. And I feel great about it, and great about seeing friends and neighbors do the same. This just might be the beginning of the citizens taking back their nation from apathy. For it is obvious that apathy has not served this nation well.
tag: War Iraq Troops Peace Politics Wisconsin Madison Referenda Referendum