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Many Wisconsin voters demand Iraq troop pullout

Written by: Staff
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MADISON, Wis., Apr 5 (Reuters) Voters in at least 22 Wisconsin cities and villages approved ballot measures calling for an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, returns showed today.

Similar measures were rejected in at least seven other jurisdictions and returns were incomplete in the rest of 32 communities voting on the question. But the Wisconsin Network of Peace and Justice, a peace group which promoted the referenda, called the outcome a ''huge victory.'' ''Out now'' measures passed 68 per cent to 31 per cent in liberal-leaning Madison and 55 per cent to 45 per cent in La Crosse. With populations of 219,000 and 51,000 respectively, they were the two largest cities voting on the question yesterday.

But the 22,000 residents of Watertown, located between Madison and Milwaukee, rejected a similar measure 75 per cent to 25 per cent.

In one closely watched contest, residents of Evansville, population 4,039, narrowly approved a withdrawal proposition 51 per cent to 49 per cent and rejected a second one calling for troops to remain in Iraq pending ''unquestioned victory'' -- by the same margin.

In other returns residents of Hayward, Kewaunee, Forestville, Sister Bay, Newport and Egg Harbor also rejected immediate withdrawal ballot questions. But voters in Ladysmith, population 4,000, Mount Horeb, population 5,860, Vermont and Shorewood all approved demands for immediate troop pullouts.

Yesterday's ballot questions were only advisory in nature and have no binding on President George W Bush or his administration, but they come at a time when the president's popularity has sunk and support for the war has ebbed.

The group which promoted the vote said it marked the first time that residents of several cities in one state had been allowed to vote on the question. Some individual city governments and other jurisdictions have spoken out on it.

Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is to place a similar measure before voters in November.

Complete returns and related information can be found at http://www.wispolitics.com.

REUTERS SI SP1128

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