ALERT: WI Countdown to Feb. 18 – SPRING ELECTIONS

SPRING PRIMARY ELECTIONS IN WISCONSIN

FEBRUARY 18

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling:

Do you have anything highlighted on your calendar for Tuesday, February 18? Did you know that Tuesday, February 18 is Spring Primary Election day in Wisconsin?  Do you know that low-voter-turnout elections mean every vote is especially important and can make a huge difference in the results of any given race?

ImageWhether you could answer yes to any or all of these questions, the truth is we begin the 2014 elections this month with the Spring Non-Partisan Primary.  The truth is spring elections are notoriously low voter turnout.  The truth is you need to find out if you should highlight Tuesday, February 18 on your calendar.

Wisconsin’s spring non-partisan elections are when we elect almost all of our local officials.  The primary on Tuesday, February 18, narrows the field to two candidates for each position for the Spring General Election on Tuesday, April 1.

Not everyone will have a primary election on Tuesday, February 18, but it’s important that you find out if you do.  Not knowig is really pretty inexcusable.

You can find out if you have a primary by calling your city, village or town clerk.  That phone number is in the phone book. Or you can check out myvote.wi.gov online.  On the home page most people will click on “Regular Voter.”  From there, just follow the instructions.  If you have a primary, you will be notified of that and have a sample ballot so that you can see the offices and the candidates. 

The potential offices you could be voting for on February 18 include mayor, city council, town or village board, county board, municipal judge, circuit court judge, and school board. All of these offices are non-partisan, meaning the candidates do not run as a representative of a political party. 

Each of these local offices impacts your life and your family’s life in direct ways. In fact, no level of government impacts our lives more and more directly than local government.  These are people we often personally know—and if we don’t know them, we should make a point of getting to know them.  The decisions they make have a profound impact on our communities—from garbage and recycling laws, to zoning laws, from property tax assessments and collections to utility services, from city and county parks to school truancy laws, from street maintenance to adoption of academic standards and more.  In addition, being a good citizen is part of our Christian responsibility.  At a minimum, as Christian citizens of this Republic, we need to vote and to vote knowledgeably, responsibly and prayerfully.

After you find out if you have a primary in your locale, it is important to then get informed about the candidates.  Don’t just show up at the polls on Tuesday, February 18 and cast a blind vote.  Frankly, that may be worse than not voting if in your ignorance you vote for someone whose values are totally opposed to yours. And, again, in these low-voter-turn-out elections, every vote matters even more than it matters in a higher-voter-turn-out election.  What if your wrong vote is the one vote by which the candidate wins?  You say that can’t happen?  Guess again.

A couple of years ago a friend of our organization went to vote in the spring election and saw that no one was running for the county board seat in his district.  He wrote his name in and then called his wife and told her what he had done and suggested she also write his name in.  She did. When the polls closed that evening, that race was a dead-even tie between our friend and another write-in candidate.  Apparently another guy had the same idea.  He had two votes, and our friend had two votes. According to the rules for election ties in that community, the candidates’ names were thrown in a hat and one name drawn out and declared the winner.  Our friend won—with two votes and a blind hat draw.  Seriously, you just never know. 

So how do you get information on the candidates that are on your primary ballot?  I recommend calling them.  Ask them questions; get a feel for who they are and what they believe.  Check them out online. Most candidates even for local offices have web sites today. Attend forums and panels—or host one if no one else is. Check the local paper.  Most papers do questionnaires or interviews with candidates.  Maybe the candidate will knock on your door.  That’s always helpful; but if he/she does not show up on your doorstep, take it upon yourself to get educated on the office and the candidates.  It’s important that you do.

So I ask again, do you have anything highlighted on your calendar for Tuesday, February 18? Did you know that Tuesday, February 18 is Spring Primary Election day in Wisconsin?  Do you know that low-voter-turnout elections mean every vote is especially important and can make a huge difference in the results of any given race? You’re without excuse now that you’ve listened to this commentary.  Please, get busy and find out this week if you need to have Tuesday, February 18 circled on your calendar.

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.”

2012: Friend or Foe? Wisconsin’s Year in Review

Hat tip: James Wigderson via MacIver Institute –

“The year 2012 was, as Dickens put it, the “best of times, it was the worst of times.” Another writer might have said it was the year our glorious summer was made the winter of our discontent. For all the hope that conservatives had at the beginning of the year, the darkening days of 2012 held dark promise for the year ahead.

The story of the year in Wisconsin was the unsuccessful recall in June of Governor Scott Walker. Ostensibly over the passage of Act 10, the recall proved to be a “do-over” of the 2010 race for governor. Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett again, this time by a wider margin.”

>>>>>read the rest HERE

Engaged Electorate

This week’s radio commentary…

Finally—some good news! Late last Friday night we learned that the Wisconsin Supreme Court had just issued a ruling saying that Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) cannot implement or enforce the new rules they put in place August 1–rules that would infringe on the free speech rights of individual citizens and organizations during elections.

Read the rest here…

Download/listen to the MP3

No GABbing Allowed!

This weeks’ radio commentary…

It’s something you might expect to find in an Orwellian novel or a communist state like China or a liberal state like New York. But here in the great state of Wisconsin? Never! Well, think again. On August 1, 2010 Wisconsin, which has been dabbling in election censorship for years, officially launched into a new world of restricting free speech during elections.

Six un-elected, retired judges – all appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle and approved by the State Senate– wield incredible power over Wisconsin’s election laws as the members for Wisconsin’s incongruously titled “Government Accountability Board,” or GAB.  In the grand, and entirely un-American, tradition of philosopher-kings, these appointed judges exercise their apparently unquestionable judgment to create, administer and enforce Wisconsin’s election-related law.

Read the rest here…

Listen to/download the MP3 file