2016 | Week of August 1 | #1162
It’s summer. And I hope you are thoroughly enjoying it! But summer plans and schedules also make it easy to forget that many Wisconsin citizens have an election next Tuesday, August 9. Yes, you heard me right—we have an election in Wisconsin next week.
The election next Tuesday, August 9, is our Fall Partisan Primary. This election narrows the ballot so that only one candidate from any party is on the ballot on Tuesday, November 8, for the Fall Partisan General Election.
Primaries are incredibly important. So let’s review what this primary is doing. In November, “we the people” will elect, in addition to a president, a US Senator, all 8 of our members in the US House of Representatives, all 99 state Assembly representatives and one-half of our 33-member state Senate—the even-numbered districts this cycle.
We have several federal-level primaries. Democrats have a primary in the US Senate race. Democrats have a primary in the US Senate race as well as in the first, third, fourth, sixth, and seventh Congressional Districts, while Republicans have primaries in the first, seventh and eighth Congressional Districts.
Beyond these federal-level races, numerous state Assembly and state Senate races will have primaries. Bear in mind that in a sizeable number of these races, whoever wins the primary is virtually guaranteed of winning the general election in November since there is no one from another party running.
The best way for you to determine if you have a primary is to find out right away what is on your ballot, unless of course, you’ve already voted via absentee ballot or early in-person voting. By the way, early in-person voting ends this Friday, August 5. If you have access to the internet, we recommend visiting the state’s voter website, myvote.wi.gov, that’s myvote.wi.gov. If you don’t have internet, we urge you to call your municipal clerk’s office or call us at 888-378-7395. Every municipality around the state will be different; so it’s important to check before you just assume you have no primary in which you should be voting.
Remember, too, that Wisconsin has a form of “closed” primaries. That means that you as a voter can only vote for one party in any given race. For instance, in the first Congressional District, where incumbent Paul Ryan is being challenged by fellow Republican Paul Nehlen and Democrats Ryan Solen and Tom Breu are running against each other, a voter would have to determine whether he or she wanted to vote in either the Republican or the Democratic primary in this race. The voter cannot vote for both a Republican and a Democrat in this First Congressional District.
Now, let’s say you live in the first congressional district and you decide you want to vote in the Democratic primary for that race but you see another primary for say a state assembly seat where 2 Republicans are challenging each other. You can vote for a Democrat in the First congressional district race and then for the state assembly race switch to Republican.
It’s important once you find out what’s on your ballot to find out about the candidates. As always, we encourage you to read your local paper, talk to informed friends, visit the candidates’ websites or Facebook pages (they all have them), go to forums, and check to see who has endorsed the candidates. A number of groups also do online voter guides. You can search on line for those, or call our office at 888-378-7395 for that information as well. We urge you to do the research; don’t vote without knowing something about the candidates and the issues. An ignorant vote can be very dangerous.
Finally, appoint yourself as a committee of one to make sure family members, friends, and fellow church goers know about the election and where they can find information about the candidates and the issues. As Christians, we must vote if we are in any way sincere about having our voice heard in our government and truly making a positive difference. Voting is the minimum we should do as Christian citizens—and it should never be a question of whether or not we will vote in any given election. That should be a given.
Summer is wonderful, but we dare not let our fun in the sun get in the way of our responsibility as Christian citizens to vote knowledgeably, responsibly, and prayerfully.
For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed. for lack of knowledge.”