Abby Rapoport

Abby Rapoport is a freelance journalist, and former staff writer at The American Prospect. She was previously a political reporter for the Texas Observer

Recent Articles

Just How Hard Was It to Vote In Wisconsin?

(Flickr/Katri Niemi)
Last night's Wisconsin recall resulted in more than just Governor Scott Walker's re-election. It also showed the tremendous difficulties some voters in the state faced simply trying to cast their ballot. While Wisconsin has had same-day registration since 2006, which helps more people get to vote, the state passed a controversial photo-ID law last year that put up new barriers. The most stringent part of the law—requiring residents to show a form of photo-ID—is not in effect thanks to a court injunction, but other elements of the law came into play yesterday as new and old voters arrived at their polling places. The Election Protection Coalition, a non-partisan group that helps monitor elections, received 1,300 phone calls on Tuesday alone, as well as an more than 500 the previous weekend. "That's remarkable," said the group's lead attorney for Wisconsin, Dara Lindenbaum. (Lindenbaum is employed by the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, one of the groups in the Election...

Wisconsin's Not-So-Silver Lining

Around 1 a.m. Wednesday night, while most of Wisconsin's recall activists coped with their candidate's decisive loss, around 30 supporters in Racine cheered as John Lehman declared victory in a state Senate race. Taking the seat gives the Democrats control of the state Senate, which was split 16-16 with one vacancy. However, Lehman's opponent, Republican Van Wanggaard, has yet to concede. It's hard to blame him. The margin of victory— less than 800 votes —practically ensures a recount. But even if the Democrats gain control of the chamber, the victory isn't likely to make much of a difference. Ostensibly, controlling the state senate will allow Democrats to thwart Walker's legislative agenda. But as I noted Monday, the legislature isn't scheduled to meet again before the November elections, which means, barring an unlikely special session, there will be no legislation to block. "Whether [Democrats] can hold the Senate in November is an open question," University of Wisconsin political...

Despite Predictions, Turnout Looks Good and Recall Activists Are Flying High

(Flickr/Sue Peacock)
"I'm pretty confident that Walker's going to go," Roberta Retrum told me last night. "I know what I hear from the people on the ground. I know how much support there is here for getting rid of Walker." Retrum, a grandmother and recall activist who's decided to run for state Assembly in November, lives in the small conservative town of Eagle River. Her confidence was seemed well meaning, but I had my doubts. After all, to have a shot at beating Walker, recall activists need turnout numbers like those during the 2008 presidential election. Retrum is one of the thousands of activists that have invested months of their lives in the recall effort. Many have formed close bonds over the last several months, as the movement has galvanized Wisconsinites who weren't particularly political before. They're an optimistic bunch, but most know the only path to winning is an extraordinary turnout, like that of 2008's presidential election. But increasingly, it looks like turnout will be high—and,...

An Uphill Battle in Wisconsin

(Flickr/Katri Niemi)
If Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is indeed recalled today, it will be an unexpected upset for his supporters. Although the latest Public Policy Polling survey, taken yesterday, shows the race tightening—Walker leads challenger Tom Barrett by 3 points with a 2.8-point margin of error—pundits are not sanguine about the chances for a Barrett victory. Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell called the effort a "mistake," and many argue despite some last minute help, the DNC has been lukewarm in its support and fundraising . The New York Times ' Nate Silver had a post yesterday evening about the uphill battle Barrett supporters face : We have not officially released a forecast for the race, but Mr. Walker’s lead of about six points would translate into almost a 95 percent chance of victory if we used the same formula we did to evaluate gubernatorial races in 2010, which derives its estimates from the historical accuracy of gubernatorial polls over the past 15 years. Campaigns that are...

The Other Wisconsin Recall

While the effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has received gads of attention, most people don't know there are a variety of other recall races tomorrow—including four for state Senate. Today, Mother Jones has a nice profile of Democratic challenger Lori Compas, who's running as an alternative to Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican and a Walker supporter. Meanwhile, WaPo 's The Fix has a post on a potential scenario in which Walker wins but the Democrats take control of the state Senate. Currently, the Post notes, the Senate is evenly divided with one vacancy, which means if any of the four Democratic candidates win, the party could retake the Senate. But even if the Dems win the Senate tomorrow, it's very likely a short-lived victory. The victors will only serve until November, when they'll be up for re-election. There's not a legislative session planned between now and then, meaning that unless the governor called a special session, the would-be...