Election 2022 will very soon be history. All the TV and radio ads, all the campaign literature, all the phone calls and all the door knocking will be done. And after 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, our opportunity to have a positive impact on this election will be over.
The reality is that while the election will be over in the next week, the impact of the election will last for at least the next two years and in some cases the next four and even the next six years.
I’ve hit this election hard over the last month or so because I am convinced the election is important and I’m even more convinced that too many Christians don’t take elections seriously enough and don’t understand their vote is important. So, this is my last opportunity to make the case and do my best to convince you to take at least two actions, with the first being to cast your own knowledgeable and responsible ballot and the second being to use your influence to convince at least ten others to join you.
So, some election basics. First, every ballot in Wisconsin will have the following races: governor and lieutenant governor, US Senate, state attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state. We will also all be asked to vote for our representative to the US House of Representatives, as well as for our state representative to the Assembly, since all 8 Congressional seats and all 99 state assembly seats are up for election every two years. People living in odd-numbered state senate districts will also be asked to vote for their state senator. Most people will also have some partisan county races on their ballot, and many will also see a referendum or two.
We frequently get calls about these referenda. There are two types of referenda: advisory and binding. Advisory referenda are generally put on a ballot by the local unit of government or by a citizen petition. Regardless of whether these advisory referenda pass or fail, they are essentially meaningless. They do not legally bind any unit of government to do anything at all. In my opinion, most of these advisory referenda put on local ballots are put there by liberal progressives who are seeking to drive their people to the polls.
This election cycle, the two most popular advisory referenda have to do with encouraging the state legislature to legalize marijuana for medical purposes or, in some communities, for any purpose, with the other advisory referenda dealing with the state establishing a right to clean water to protect human health, the environment, and the diverse cultural and natural heritage of Wisconsin. Again, neither of these forces any unit of government to do anything.
The other type of referenda many will see will be a binding referendum having to do with increasing a school district’s revenue or increasing a school district’s or a local municipality’s spending for certain projects. State law requires that if school districts want to tax citizens beyond a certain level or want to spend more than the law allows, they must put the matter to a vote of the citizens. Many school districts are doing just that for this election. If such a referendum passes, then local taxes can be increased or the school district can spend additional monies. If the referendum fails, then the school district cannot up the taxes or spend more. These are legally binding referenda.
One of the most important actions you can take if you haven’t already voted is to visit wifamilycouncil.org’s “Election Central” website and click on the “sample ballot” link towards the bottom of the page. When you see your sample ballot you will know if you have a referendum or not ;and you should now be able to determine whether it is advisory or binding. Of course, in addition to finding out about any referenda, you will also see all the races and candidates that you are being asked to vote on. On this website is a great deal of other election-related information, all designed to help you vote knowledgeably and responsibly.
In America, God uses us as citizens to determine who will represent us. That’s both a privilege and a responsibility. I cannot urge you strongly enough to take this election seriously. You still have plenty of time to get informed and to reach out to at least ten other people and use your influence to encourage them to join you in making a difference in this election—before that opportunity is gone.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
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