Knowledgeable, Responsible, Prayerful

Knowledgeable, Responsible, Prayerful

Elections are coming. Be ready!

2024 | Week of February 12 | Radio Transcript #1553

This grand Republic we have in America and in Wisconsin hinges on a couple of key truths. One of those truths is that elections are important—all elections. 2024is a big election year in Wisconsin, with four regularly scheduled elections.  If you really want to make a difference in the important issues of our day, vote knowledgeably, responsibly, and prayerfully in every election.

The first of the four regular elections this year happens next Tuesday, February 20, with our spring nonpartisan primary election.  Since there is no statewide office on the ballot this year, not all municipalities will have a primary for their local offices, but some will.  This primary is setting the ballot for the general nonpartisan spring election, which will be on Tuesday, April 2.  As a reminder, April 2 will also be Wisconsin’s Presidential Preference Primary for both the Democrats and the Republicans.

In these two spring elections we will voting on candidates running for mayor, city council, town or village boards, county boards, school board, municipal judge, circuit judge, and perhaps some referenda brought by, most likely, school districts.  It bears repeating: the unit of government that most directly impacts our lives is local government.  We ignore these elections to our own harm.

Our system of government demands a knowledgeable and responsible constituency—but it is often difficult to find out about candidates and the issues at election time. This is especially true for local races such as those on the ballot next week and in April.

To help you get the information on these candidates, here are some important, practical suggestions that will assist you in discovering the important information you need to know before voting for a candidate in this upcoming primary.

  1. Visit myvote.wi.gov to see a sample ballot. That will tell you if you have a primary and what offices or referendum is on the ballot. If you don’t have internet, call your municipal clerk's office to find out if you have a primary. Ask the clerk for what offices and candidates will be on the ballot. Then begin researching the candidates. Look on the Internet and check any campaign literature.
  2. Determine what the issues are for each office.
  3. If a candidate doesn’t have an internet presence, call him/her—either at their residence or at their campaign headquarters if there is one, which generally there isn’t for these local offices.

Ask the candidate question such as, “What made you decide to run for public office?” “Why are you running now for this particular position?”  “What issues do you consider most important in your campaign?”  “What's your view of the role of government?”  “Who has endorsed you?”  "Who has given you money?”

Ask questions on the specific issues that are important to you and are pertinent to the office the candidate is seeking. To get a true picture of where the candidates stand, ask questions in a neutral way. For instance, ask a school board candidate what he/she thinks about the way schools are currently funded, not whether he/she believes the state should give the districts more money.

  1. Read the local newspaper digitally or in print—look for articles, press releases, ads, letters to the editor, endorsements, and reports on forums or panels.
  2. Find out about any candidate forums or other public appearances that are going to be held. The candidates should know; ask them when you call. Attend these events with your questions prepared. Write your questions down so you can submit them in advance, if necessary.
  3. Stay alert for local radio programs or community cable stations that will feature interviews with the candidates.
  4. And finally, talk with knowledgeable people who are following your local political scene. Find out what they know about the issues and the candidates. Double-check with others who are also "in the know" if you have any question.

Remember, too, that you need to produce a drivers’ license, a state-issued ID card, a military ID card or a student ID card if you plan to vote early, which ends this Friday, or at the polls next Tuesday.

So much is going on today. One way we can make a difference in the issues of the day is to vote and to do so knowledgeably, responsibly, and prayerfully. I trust we will each take that to heart as we prepare for elections this year.

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

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