2018 | Week of September 24 | #1274
Are you tired of the political ads running incessantly on TV and radio? We’re still six weeks away from November 6, but the campaigns are definitely in high gear. Part of this increased campaign pace is Wisconsin’s early in-person voting. Candidates know a growing percentage of voters are taking advantage of being able to cast their ballots early rather than waiting until Election Day, without having to request an absentee ballot and return that ballot by mail. To capture those votes, candidates have to get their message out earlier than before we had this option.
If you are thinking about voting early in-person at your clerk’s office, you need to know that a court decision in a case filed by liberal progressives shredded Wisconsin’s very reasonable early in-person voting law. When passed a few years ago, that law required clerks to make early in-person voting available two weeks before any election. Beginning and ending dates were clear. But not anymore.
The court decision currently in play ordered the state to allow each municipal clerk to determine when early voting will begin in any jurisdiction. The ending date is still set for everyone—close of business the Friday before the election on Tuesday. The argument was that people in Milwaukee couldn’t possibly figure out how to vote early with only two weeks available to do that; thus, the law was discriminating against them. I know. Go figure. If I lived in Milwaukee, I would be insulted by their demeaning insinuation about my ability to order my life. Smart or not, the court has spoken.
So if you want to vote early in this fall election, you need to contact your municipal clerk and find out when you can do that. Some municipalities have already started early voting. You can find links to this election information and much more on our website at wifamilycouncil.org. Just click on the “Election Central” link on the home page.
In addition to accommodating early voting, candidates know there’s a great deal at stake in this election; and they want to be sure voters have ample time to hear what they have to say before they vote.
I certainly agree with much being at stake in this election. In Wisconsin we are electing a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer, secretary of state, all 99 state assembly representatives and half of our state senators (those from odd-numbered districts), in addition to a US Senator and all 8 of our members of congress. Just the number of offices up for grabs makes this election high-stakes. Add to that the reality that we could see significant changes in state government in particular. And that depends on whether there is a “blue wave,” flipping legislative majorities and maybe even the governor, thereby being able to push liberal progressive ideas and policies, or whether conservatives hold serve and retain their majorities and the executive branch.
Our job as voters is to judge not just the credibility of the ads, the written campaign material, and the phone calls, but really the credibility of the candidates. When they say they are pro-life, how do they back up that claim? What about when they push back against allegations made by their opponent, alleging what they are saying is a lie? How do we judge who is honest and what is true?
One thing to consider is character. Regardless of what some maintain these days, I believe character matters—really matters—in elected officials. On the whole, people cannot long-term live in contradiction of their character. Dishonest people will lie and cheat at some point. Manipulative people will eventually manipulate situations and individuals to get what they want. Granted, it’s often hard to determine the real character of candidates, especially those who have not held office. But with some research, careful listening and prayer, we can learn a great deal that will give us some insight. As Christians, as often as possible, we need to vote for people whose character is good and whose values most closely align with ours. That requires our doing some work and exercising some discernment.
While the ads and rhetoric can often be irritating, I hope you will use them as an opportunity to help you discern the truth about the candidates and then to vote knowledgeably and responsibly in this election, whether you vote early or head to the polls on Election Day. Again, for more help, visit wifamilycouncil.org.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”