The mood among voters varied widely in Madison.
The electorate in Wisconsin may be bitterly divided, but Madison voters are nearly uniform in their disgust of Gov. Scott Walker.
So Madison residents headed to the polls Tuesday with a mix of optimism and anxiety, hoping Democratic challenger Mary Burke could unseat the Republican governor. Voter turnout was high throughout the city, with a rush of voters heading the polls with an hour to go.
Miranda Welch and Jessica Ray, voters at Olbrich Gardens epitomized the anxiety. When asked how their election-day moods were, Welch let out a heavy sigh. "Fuck me," she said. "You can quote me on that."
"We're torn," Ray quickly added. "We want to be optimistic, but we've been anxious all day."
Welch said it is an historic day with "All eyes... on Wisconsin."
Around Madison, voters were trying to make the moment count. Voter turnout was high, with 47% of registered voters city-wide casting ballots by 4 p.m.
Olbrich Gardens -- the city's Ward 40 -- was running the third highest voter turnout in Madison. Turnout at 5:30 p.m. was over 70%, with more than 1,800 ballots cast from the 2,560 voters registered there.
The turnout at Ward 40 was keeping pace with previous elections. In the 2012 fall election, 83% of voters at Olbrich Gardens cast their ballots, whereas in the 2010 gubernatorial election, 80% of registered voters went to the polls.
Jeannie Retelle, chief election inspector at Olbrich, said that turnout has been fantastic, and she expected a steady flow of voters to file in after normal work hours. They have already counted all of Ward 40's absentee ballots, and registered more than 200 new people, both of which Retelle said were increases from years past.
Finley Hay-Chapman, a first-time poll worker and senior at East High School, said that voters seemed optimistic and excited. And while he can't vote in this year's election – he's only 17 -- he's eager to get his chance. "When I can vote, it's going to be awesome."
Jason Tish echoed that enthusiasm, saying he felt excited and powerful after voting. Tish said this election carries more weight than past elections.
"There's a sense of divisiveness and it's regrettable," Tish said. "The political dialogue is too passionate and too informed by biased information."
For Rick Heidrich, his motive for voting was more basic -- to oust Gov. Walker from office.
"He's a criminal, he's a crook, and he has to get voted out," Heidrich said.
But Heidrich was anxious that voters would get the job done. He planned on waiting until Wednesday to check on the results.
Until then, he's hoping for a miracle.