By Emily Fredrix
Wednesday, April 5, 2006
MILWAUKEE, April 4 -- Wisconsin residents in 32 communities were weighing in on the Iraq war Tuesday by voting on referendums about whether the United States should withdraw its troops.
People in communities large and small gathered signatures on petitions that put the referendums on the spring election ballot, urging President Bush to bring home the troops. Although the referendums carry no legal weight, organizers hoped to send a message.
With referendums in larger, Democratic-leaning cities such as Madison and La Crosse and in smaller towns that voted for Bush in 2004, Tuesday's vote should be representative of the state's population and politics, said Steve Burns, program coordinator of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.
"We didn't sort of cherry-pick the location where we'd get a good result, so I think it will be more meaningful," Burns said.
Most of the referendums asked if the voters supported withdrawing the troops immediately, and Evansville also had one urging support of Bush. The referendum in the town of Newport asked whether the United States should hand operational command of Iraq's national security over to the Iraqi government before the end of 2006.
On Saturday, supporters of the war rallied in Madison, driving around the state Capitol and urging voters to defeat the referendums.
In other states, some city councils and voters have approved measures opposing the war or calling for the troops to return.