Your Wisconsin Election WAKE-UP CALL

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

So, do you know who is on your ballot for the upcoming election?  If that question takes you by surprise, please allow this commentary to be your wake-up call on this important issue.

While thankfully we don’t have never-ending elections like we did a couple of years ago, 2014 is an election year, meaning in Wisconsin we have both spring and fall elections.  The election on Tuesday, April 1, is our annual Spring Nonpartisan General Election.

Rather than a being a yawner, this should be one of the most important elections each year.  This is the election when we elect to office those whose decisions most directly affect our individual and family lives.   On Tuesday, April 1, citizens across this state will be voting for such offices as city mayors, city council members, county board supervisors, town and village board members, and school board members.  Some areas will see contested municipal judge races and a few will have contested circuit court judge races.

When we have big elections such as the one coming this November when we will be electing a governor and lieutenant governor, all of our state assembly, half of our state senate, a new attorney general and all of our congressional delegation, many people get at least a little interested and involved.  Sad to say, it’s way too often a different story for these spring local elections.

ImageBut consider the decisions these local officials make.  They determine the assessed value of your home and property which figures into how much you pay in property tax.  They determine what you can and cannot do with your property.  They determine when and how roads will be built and maintained.  They make decisions about curriculum in your local public schools, about what surveys will be administered, and how much school employees will be paid—using your tax dollars.  They set the rules for whether or not sexually oriented businesses can move into your community and how many liquor licenses will be issued.  They’re the ones who establish contracts with organizations such as Planned Parenthood. They hire the people who make up police and fire departments in your community and those who make sure the water is safe to drink.

That’s an incomplete list, to be sure. But I hope it gives you the proof you need so you understand that truly local government is the level of government that most directly impacts you and your family—every day in a multitude of ways.

The election on Tuesday, April 1 is important.  In these elections, we’re often voting for people we know.  On the ballot in my community are 3 people from my church. In local elections we frequently vote for friends, acquaintances, fellow church members, family members, neighbors.  This should be the most important, not the least important election for us.

To find out what races and candidates will be on your ballot on Tuesday, April 1, you can either call your municipal clerk or visit myvote.wi.gov online.  Both sources will give you the information you need.  Many local newspapers also print the ballots the Thursday or Friday before the Tuesday election.

Once you know who is on your ballot, you need to make sure you find out what they stand for.  It’s not too late to do that. It’s not too late until the polls close on Tuesday, April 1—which, by the way, is 8 p.m. statewide.

You can learn about the candidates by calling them directly—at home—because most don’t have offices for local elections.  Ask them questions about why they are running, ask about issues you are concerned about, find out about their view of government, their background.  Most local candidates today have websites. Check them out.  Read the newspaper. Listen to the radio. Watch your local cable channel. Go to forums.  Read literature they may be mailed or dropped off at your house. Call friends whom you trust and who you know are following local politics. The bottom line is it’s up to us as citizens to get educated on the candidates so we can vote our values.

Do yourself, your family and your community a favor.  Get Tuesday, April 1 plugged into your electronic calendar.  Circle it on your refrigerator calendar.  Call friends and family members and make sure they, too, are ready to vote on Tuesday, April 1—and to truly vote their values by voting for people who will represent them well right in their own communities.  Ignorance is no excuse.  Let’s all be the Christian citizen and example we should be.

Sen. Mary Lazich Calls for Audit of Wisconsin GAB

ImageStatement from official Facebook page of Senator Mary Lazich:

“Yesterday, as Chair of the Senate Committee of Elections and Urban Affair I renewed my call to audit the Government Accountability Board (GAB) after it was revealed that the GAB will not update voter rolls prior to the April 2, 2013, election. The purpose of notifications to inactive voters is to ensure that voter rolls are filled with active voters and that inactive voters are removed from voting lists.

While GAB graciously assumed the postcard notification duty, they should have gotten the task completed.The fact remains inactive voters are not contacted and timelines required by state law are not achieved. As a result voter rolls will not be current for the April 2 election. It is beyond time for a full audit of the GAB. The law requires election tasks be completed.

State law requires inactive voters be notified by their municipal clerk or local election commission before they are removed from the rolls. It was revealed that less than half of municipal clerks performed the postcard notification tasks. GAB assumed the responsibility of contacting inactive voters following the 2010 November election without authorization from the legislature.

Bottom line, the volleyball mess between the GAB and county clerks needed to end yesterday. This shifting of responsibilities created a process that ignores the law and threatens election integrity. An audit is the only remedy to cure the constant speculation and unrest about GAB’s performance. This is exactly the reason I asked for an audit of the GAB during June 2012 and again during January 2013. Once again I reiterate my call for an audit of the GAB to establish order and provide the legislature with facts to strengthen elections law and election integrity.”

Elections: The Privilege & Responsibility of Living in a Republic

Commentary from WFA president Julaine Appling:

Ok.  I know you are likely election weary; however, the privilege of living in a Republic with its representative form of government comes with the responsibility—the duty—of voting for those who represent us.

Periodic elections are a hallmark of a Republic. And a knowledgeable and responsible electorate is an absolute must if this unique form of government is going to work. And you and I as “we the people,” have the opportunity to once again be direct participants in our government by voting in the Spring Nonpartisan Primary Election this next Tuesday, February 19.  So in spite of any election weariness you may have, it’s time to shake it off, get informed, get others informed and motivated, and get to the polls.

ImageOnly one statewide race will be on your ballot next Tuesday—and that is for a seat on our state’s highest court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  We have seven justices on our high court, each serving ten-year terms, the longest term of office we have in Wisconsin.  Incumbent Justice Patience (Pat) Roggensack is running for her second ten-year term.  She is being challenged by Ed Fallone and Vince Megna. 

On Tuesday, February 19, we will be asked to vote for one of these three Supreme Court candidates.  The top two vote-getters will move on to the Spring Nonpartisan General Election on Tuesday, April 2.

Wisconsin Family Council has prepared a Candidate Information Publication on these three Supreme Court candidates.  The publication is available online at voteyourvalueswi. or by calling 888-378-7395 for print copies.  This is a strictly educational publication and is suitable for distribution in churches. 

To give you just a little information about these candidates, incumbent Pat Roggensack is the only candidate with judicial experience, having been elected to the Court of Appeals two times.  Vince Megna’s legal experience is as a private-practice attorney, specializing in Lemon Law litigation.  Ed Fallone is an Associate Professor at Marquette University Law School, where he teaches constitutional, corporate and criminal law.  He also practices with a law firm in Milwaukee, specializing in civil litigation.

In the area of why they are running and judicial philosophy, Pat Roggensack says, “I have shown that I understand the differing constitutional roles of Wisconsin’s three branches of government, and that I have fairly and impartially decided each case that has come before me, independent of outside pressures. As a justice, I have ‘called the balls and strikes,’ as the rule of law in each case has required.” 

Ed Fallone says that for “his entire career, [he] has been fighting to ensure all people have equal justice before the law,” while Vince Megna states, “We need to get reacquainted with the practice of ‘justice for all’ in Wisconsin. It’s time to bring common sense and a sense of humanity to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.”

There is more information on the Candidate Information Publication available at voteyourvalueswi.org or by calling 888-378-7395.

While the Supreme Court race is the only statewide race on your ballot next Tuesday, you may find other local races on there—such as for school board, city council, mayor, town or village board, circuit court, or county supervisor. 

If you are a registered voter, here are three ways to find out exactly what will be on your ballot on Tuesday, February 19:  1) Call your municipal clerk and ask.  If you can’t find your clerk’s name and number, call us at 888-378-7395.  2) Go to myvote.wi.gov and click on “regular voter” to follow the few, simple steps to see your sample ballot.  And 3) call us here at Wisconsin Family Council and we can look up your sample ballot.  That number is 888-378-7395.

Next Tuesday, you and I can have a direct say in who becomes a justice on our state Supreme Court—a very important decision as this court is deliberating on many cases that deal directly with marriage, family, life and liberty.  Take advantage of the privilege and responsibility you have as part of “we the people” to make sure good people get elected to represent you.  Get informed, get others informed and motivated to join you, and then go cast a knowledgeable and responsible ballot on Tuesday, February 19.

Appling: Golden Opportunity for Christians in Upcoming Local Elections

Listen to WVCY’s Home Front program hosted by Wisconsin Family Council president Julaine Appling

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 – Julaine talks about local government and Christians running for local office.

Duty and Consequences

This week’s radio commentary…

“Elections have consequences.”  It’s almost a cliché today.  But it’s true nonetheless. We’ve been living the results of the November 2, 2010 election for the past seven months. Here in Wisconsin it’s meant unprecedented union protests and media frenzy, a balanced state budget, 13,000 new jobs, more and more balanced school budgets, recall elections; the list goes on.

Perhaps like no other time in our recent history, we’re experiencing how the decisions made in Madison affect us as individuals, families and communities. Public policy is not just a political game—it is a critical component of our society that affects people at every level of their lives. Sometimes, it can even mean life and death, as the legalization of abortion tragically illustrates.

Let’s put this in perspective. The eight senate recall elections we are having this summer are important; they’re incredibly important. I can’t even begin to tell you what the consequences might be if an anti-life, anti-marriage, anti-liberty majority takes over the State Senate come August 16 because the consequences are too numerous to explain in the time we have.

We know, however, that whatever the outcome of the recalls may be, we do not put our hope and trust in government—whether it’s run by Republicans or Democrats. In God We Trust—it’s our national motto, in fact! Good thing, too, because we know from much experience that our elected officials—even those whose character we highly respect—are not perfect. Like us, they are decidedly human.

Obviously, that doesn’t mean we pray for our state and then go bury our heads in the ground. As John Quincy Adams put it, “Duty is ours, results are God’s.” Did you know John Quincy, son of the famous patriots John and Abigail Adams, was an ardent abolitionist? After serving as president of the United States, John Quincy went back into the U.S. House of Representatives to fight for abolition.

While serving in Congress, John Quincy fought for abolition the last 17 years of his life, enduring ridicule, censure and political attacks for his determined and frequently solitary legislative war on slavery. He died without seeing the emancipation of the slaves. But they were eventually freed, thanks to the dedication, perseverance and sacrifice of people of such as John Quincy.

My point is–we’re in this for the long haul. Elections come and go, majorities rise and fall, policies change and evolve but human nature does not change. We will always have cause to fight for justice, liberty, marriage and family, and the lives and rights of the helpless and vulnerable because we live in a fallen world.

In this life, there’s never a deadline, a finish line, for the just cause, for doing the right thing. Even when it seems we’re ahead, we need to keep working to protect innocent life, families, liberty and justice. We need perseverance, patience and great resolve to continue to do what is right.

But take heart! You and I are not in charge of the results! What a relief! Our responsibility is to simply do what we can, give when we can and leave the results, and the consequences, to God.

This summer of recall elections and the upcoming year, as we move into the 2012 presidential election, offer many opportunities for all of us to get involved, to fight for that just cause. As you get involved, remember to keep things in the bigger perspective. You’re not just making phone calls, knocking on doors, giving money or casting a vote. You’re part of a much larger effort, the results of which affect people’s lives. And it may take a while, may take years, for you to see the fruit of your efforts.

While elections most definitely have consequences, the fight for liberty and justice does not wax and wane with election cycles or legislative sessions. It is an ongoing effort.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint. But be encouraged for In God We Trust.   Let’s each faithfully do our part and leave the results—and the consequences—to our great God!

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

>> listen to/download the mp3