Authorities, businesses prepare Capitol Square ahead of recall vote

Election set for Tuesday
Wisconsin State Capitol
File photo

The Capitol Square in downtown Madison has served as the backdrop for more than a year of political drama. Now police, protesters and area businesses around the state Capitol are preparing for Tuesday night’s recall election results.

Under the watchful eyes of Lady Forward, voices of the Solidarity Sing Along boom through the square on the eve of Wisconsin history.

“Tomorrow is the vote, very important!” yelled an organizer. “We’ve been waiting so long. The election is tomorrow.”

Votes will determine who will serve in the governor’s office and could affect control of the state Legislature on Tuesday night. What activity will occur around the Capitol once the polls close is anyone’s guess.

Peter Mcelvanna, owner of Cooper’s Tavern, which is located near the Capitol, said that they’re making preparations.

“We’ve been planning this for quite a while now,” said Mcelvanna. “We have extra staff working, a doorman working, extra bartenders working.”

Mcelvanna said he’s planning for potential crowds after polls close, but safety isn’t really on his mind.

“No, not at all,” he said. “The great people of Wisconsin are very good-natured, very well-mannered.”

Madison police officials said that they’re going to be monitoring the situation.


“We’re going to have to read the tea leaves tomorrow.” said Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain, “Kind of monitor everything that’s taking place.”

Despain said that no permits were issued to gather around the Capitol on Tuesday night, which means police will handle any spontaneous gathering on a case by case basis.

“If it gets to the point where we think it’s not safe to have a large number of people in the streets, we can shut down the Capitol Square to traffic,” said DeSpain.

Until the vote goes one way or another, it’s all just a wait-and-see game for both sides.

Officials with the state Department of Administration, which runs Capitol police and handles security inside the Capitol, said that business hours will run as is with the building closing at 6 p.m. Officials didn’t elaborate on operation plans for Tuesday.