The citizens of Wisconsin will finally be able to voice their opinion in the Republican Party presidential nominating contest this Tuesday during the April primary elections held across the state.
The field has been narrowed down to four candidates from an initial 11 that sought the nomination.
Currently Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and runner up to Senator John McCain in the 2008 nomination race, leads the race to the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination with 568, according to the Associated Press delegate count.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum currently has 273 delegates, while former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and current Texas Congressman Ron Paul have 135 and 50 delegates, respectively.
Wisconsin has a total of 42 delegates that are up for grabs on Tuesday, with 18 going to the winner of the statewide popular vote while the remaining 24 votes will be awarded to the winner of each of the state’s eight congressional districts.
The nomination process this year has been considerably longer than the one four years ago, as the Republican National Committee altered the way the majority of states allocate their delegates. In 2008, John McCain effectively secured the nomination by March 4 after Mick Huckabee dropped out of the race.
In 2008 many states allocated their delegates to the statewide winner in a winner take all format. This year only ten states allocate their delegates in a winner take all format, with the vast majority following a process identical to Wisconsin.
The way the nomination process has played out during the early parts of the campaign had led some political analysts to believe there was a slight chance of a brokered convention where another candidate could step in and become the nominee.
However that possibility seems to be fading away as Romney only needs 46 percent of the remaining delegates to secure the nomination, according to Nate Silver who writes the FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times. The earliest Romney could mathematically secure the nomination would be late May, but would require him to win 95 percent of the remaining delegates.
Voters in Wisconsin will not have to bring a valid Wisconsin ID card to the polls on Tuesday as two Dane County judges have prevented the voter ID law passed last summer from taking effect.
Attorney General J.B. van Hollen has appealed both judges’ decisions asking the appeals court to overturn the injunction before the election next Tuesday.
Two separate appeals courts sent both cases straight to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday. Four of the seven justices would have to vote to hear the case.
The Government Accountability Board, the nonpartisan committee that oversees all elections in the state, and who was charged with instituting an educational campaign to inform voters of the new requirements has stopped airing television and radio ads about the new law, but have told local election officials to be prepared in case the court order is overturned.
State election officials estimate that voter turnout will be around 35 percent for the primary, in which a number of local elections are also on the ballot.
Most notably for the Stevens Point area is an election to fill a seat on the Portage County Circuit Court and for the Stevens Point Area Public School Board.
Logan T. Carlson