(CNN) – Wisconsin will hold its first recall election of state senators Tuesday with Democratic primaries in six districts Republicans currently hold, kicking off a series of elections that are the result of the state battle over collective bargaining rights that shut down the state legislature for weeks in February and March.
The recall elections scheduled in July and August stem from public outcry over a Wisconsin measure passed in the state legislature with the support of Republican Gov. Scott Walker that curbed collective bargaining rights of most state employees in an attempt to close a $137 million budget shortfall.
The six Democrats in Tuesday's election are facing protest Democrats, candidates put up by the Republican Party. The winners from the Democratic primaries will face the Republican incumbents in the August 9th general election.
Wisconsin's open primary laws allow members of both political parties to participate in the state's primaries.
Three Republican elections will take place July 19, two primaries and one recall election, which is not considered a primary because there is only one candidate in the race. The winners of the GOP primaries will face Democratic incumbent state senators in the August 16 general election. The winner of the recall election will serve in the state Senate.
In the recall elections, state Democrats object to Republican legislators' support of the law while Republicans are critical of Democratic lawmakers who left the state during negotiations in opposition to Gov. Walker's agenda, in an effort to block the bill.
The bill, which was upheld by the state Supreme Court in June, sharply divided the state earlier in the year. Republicans insisted the measure was necessary to control the skyrocketing costs of public employee benefits and close the budget shortfall. Democrats argued that it was an attempt to gut public-sector labor unions, one of their core constituencies.
Under the Wisconsin law, all public workers except police and firefighters would be required to cover more of their retirement plan contributions and health care premiums.
– CNN Wire Staff contributed to this report.