2019 | Week of February 11 | #1295
Do you have anything highlighted on your calendar for Tuesday, February 19? Do you know that Tuesday, February 19 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?
Whether you could answer yes to any or all of these questions, the truth is next Tuesday, February 19 is our Spring Non-Partisan Primary. The truth is spring elections have notoriously low voter turnout. The truth is you need to find out if you should highlight Tuesday, February 19 on your calendar.
Wisconsin’s spring non-partisan elections are when we elect almost all of our local officials. The primary on Tuesday, February 19, sets the ballots for the Spring General Election on Tuesday, April 2. Not everyone will have a primary election on Tuesday, February 19, but it’s important that you find out if you do. Not knowing is really pretty inexcusable.
You can find out if you have a primary by calling your municipal clerk. Check the phone book, or you visit myvote.wi.gov online for contact information and more. You’ll see if you have a primary and if so can also see a sample ballot so you know the offices and the candidates.
The potential offices you could be voting for on February 19 include mayor, city council, town or village board, county board, municipal judge, circuit court judge, and school board.
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. 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 19 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. When the polls closed that evening, that race was a dead-even tie. Apparently, another man had had the same idea. He had two votes, and our friend had two votes. The candidates’ names were thrown in a hat and our friend’s name was drawn and he was declared the winner—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. Check the local paper. 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 19? Do you know that Tuesday, February 19 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. Get busy and find out if you need to have Tuesday, February 19 circled on your calendar.
For more information and to learn how you can support the work of Wisconsin Family Council, please visit wifamilycouncil.org or call 888-378-7395.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”