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Upcoming Elections and Voter Information
Spring Election: Tuesday, April 7, 2015 On the ballot is the election of a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and a Constitutional amendment that would change how the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Chief Justice is chosen. Both of these voter choices have serious consequences for the state’s long-term direction. There are also important local elections on the ballot -- see the Dodgeville Chronicle listing.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice race. Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley is running against Rock County Circuit Judge James Daley. At stake is the make-up of a court that currently has two liberal and five conservative justices. According to the Wisconsin Law Journal, the race is officially nonpartisan, but Daley has accepted a $7,000 in-kind contribution from the Wisconsin Republican Party and is speaking at GOP events around the state. Bradley says she “strongly believes” that political parties should stay out of judicial races. Daley says he’s not going to apologize for accepting a legal donation from the GOP. He says he speaks with people who have a similar conservative philosophy.
Constitutional amendment to change the way the Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice is selected. The Wisconsin constitution currently provides that the chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court is its longest-serving member. The proposed constitutional amendment would instead select the chief justice through an election by a majority of the justices then serving on the Court. Says a WMTV report, “The court's conservative majority has been chafing under the leadership of liberal-leaning Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Under the Republican-authored amendment, the justices would vote on a chief. That would allow the majority to oust Abrahamson.” For more information about the proposed amendment, see the Government Accountability Board site.
Dodgeville At-large School District race. Current school board member Eileen Frank of Dodgeville faces Tom McGraw of Ridgeway for an at-large seat, meaning that anyone in the School District will be eligible to vote. From a Dodgeville Chronicle interview, the candidate responses to what constitutes the biggest challenge to the school district were: Eileen Frank: “The academic performance of students coming from disadvantaged homes poses a serious concern and challenge. ….The recent proposal of our current legislature to punish schools with poor performance ratings by turning them into charter schools or privatizing them is alarming. Whereas public schools are required to accept all students, charter schools and private schools can turn away the poor performing students.” Tom McGraw: “The biggest current challenge would be our budget deficit. We must look at all aspects of the district that could realize some cost savings. As we look, we must prioritize, and put education first. We must be fair, consistent, and equitable, building to building, classroom to classroom, and program to program”.
There are also local election for school boards, referendums and local government (Town Boards, etc.). For example, the Highland School District has 2 referendum questions. To see what is on your ballot, simply put your address into this form.
Where to Vote
The State of Wisconsin has updated their website for checking your voting status, it can now be found at: https://myvote.wi.gov/. You can see where to vote and what your sample ballot will look like by simply putting in your address, click here to try it out. You can also enter your name and see if you are registered to vote, by clicking here.
Voter Photo ID in Wisconsin
The U.S. Supreme Court on Mar. 23, 2015 cleared the way for enforcement of Wisconsin’s voter ID law. The voter ID law will not be enforced for the April 7, 2015 Spring Election, but will be enforced for subsequent elections. For more information about photo IDs, click on the Government Accountability Board site.
Voting Early or Absentee
Request an Absentee Ballot
Click here to get the GAB Form 121 - Absentee Ballot Request. This can all be done by mail or you can contact your town, village or city clerk’s office during office hours. If you live in a town, contact your town clerk via phone to set up an appointment to vote. Don’t know who your clerk is? Go to MyVote.WI.gov . Enter your name and date of birth, and at the bottom of the page that comes up you will find contact information for your municipal clerk.
Vote Early in Person at the Clerk’s Office
Absentee voting in the clerk’s office is now restricted to the two weeks before an election. Absentee voting ends at the close of business the Friday before the election. The new law prohibits absentee voting and voter registration the Saturday, Sunday or Monday before an election. To vote early go to your town, village or city clerk’s office during office hours or contact your town clerk via phone to set up an appointment to vote.
Voter Registration Changes
If you have not registered to vote, you are encouraged to register now!
You can register to vote up until the Friday before the election or on Election Day. You must reside at your address for 28 consecutive days to be eligible to vote, and you may no longer use a corroborating witness as proof of residence. Proof of residence is required when registering less than 20 days before an election, on Election Day, and for first time Wisconsin voters registering by mail. For more information on acceptable proof of residence documents contact your local municipal clerk.
Learn More about the Candidates
A good resource for learning more about the candidates running on a statewide basis is Wisconsin Vote a service of Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio.
LOOKING FOR THE TRUTH about controversial political ads or claims?
Check out POLITIFACT WISCONSIN which is a nonpartisan fact-checking website that focuses on truth-telling in Wisconsin politics. FactCheck.org provides invaluable information on the national political scene. For Internet Rumors: See FactCheck Viral Spiral at http://factcheck.org/hot-topics/ or Snopes at http://www.snopes.com/politics/politics.asp
Interested in running for Office Yourself?
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) has information about what it takes to get your name on the ballot. Click here to go to their site and learn more.
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin (LWV) is another resource you can go turn to for information about what it takes to run for an office. Here is a link to their website.