Spring 2014 Election

Voter's guide: Here's what you need to know for Tuesday's elections

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Frank Schultz
Sunday, March 30, 2014

Elections are Tuesday. Don't panic. Here's what you need to know in order to stay calm and vote:

-- Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. statewide.

-- If you voted recently and have not moved, you are registered to vote.

If you are not registered, you can do so at the office of the clerk in your municipality Monday or at the polls Tuesday. You will need to provide proof of residence. To learn more, go to gab.wi.gov/voters/first-time.

If you are not able to use the Internet, contact your local municipal clerk.

If you are registered or have registered previously, you can find your registration status, what is on your ballot and other information by going to myvote.wi.gov.

-- Knowing what candidates and referendums are on the ballot is just a first step. You will want to know where those candidates stand. The Gazette produced a guide to contested elections and referendums in Rock and Walworth counties. You can access election previews and related information at http://www.gazettextra.com/content/spring2014/voterinfo.

-- A note about photo ID: You do not need it to vote, nor do you need it to register to vote. That issue remains tied up in the courts.

-- A note about new voting laws: Gov. Scott Walker recently signed several bills into law that will change rules for elections and voting, but none of them will be in effect in time to affect voters on Tuesday.

The rules for voting have not changed from recent elections. Voters will be asked to give name and address and to sign the poll book.

-- Reasons for voting have a lot to do with where you live. Two local votes will affect property taxes for the residents of the Parkview and Delavan-Darien school districts.

Parkview residents are being asked to approve a building referendum that would cost no more than $17 million.

Delavan-Darien residents are being asked to exceed state revenue limits by $2.1 million every year, starting next year.

In Evansville, those chosen to serve on the school board will help determine the fate of referendums that are in the offing for future elections.

Residents of Spring Prairie in Walworth County will decide whether to have curbside trash pickup.

-- National issue, local vote: Residents of Elkhorn, Delavan and Edgerton all will face the same advisory question that advocates hope will lead to a change in national elections.

The Move to Amend organization collected enough signatures in those cities to get this question on the ballot, which asks residents if they support a resolution to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

Advocates are pressuring state and federal lawmakers to enact legislation that will change the rules of the political game and reduce the influence of money, unions, corporations and other organizations in politics.

-- Janesville only: Residents will be able to choose among candidates for city council, school board and, depending on where you live, Rock County Board.

-- Turnout: It's typically low for the spring elections, around 20 percent in Rock County. Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler predicts a lower-than-normal turnout Tuesday, between 16 percent and 19 percent.

The bright side of low turnout is that those who vote have a bigger impact on the results than they would if more people voted.

-- Special circumstances: At least one write-in candidate for Rock County Board will be distributing stickers with the candidate's name on them for use at the polls, Stottler said.

The stickers are legal, but Stottler is concerned that a sticker might not adhere completely and could jam a voting machine. Spare machines will be available if that happens, Stottler said.

-- Election night: Radio, TV and newspaper websites -- including gazettextra.com -- will carry results as fast as they can process them.

For those who need their election results fresh and raw, check the websites of your county clerks.

In Rock County, results will be posted as they come in at www.co.rock.wi.us/cclerk-election-results.

In Walworth County, go to www.co.walworth.wi.us/Government%20Center/County%20Clerk/ElectionResults/

Rock county political diehards like to gather at the courthouse in Janesville on election night after the polls close at 8. Clerk Stottler will display the latest results on a screen in the Jury Assembly Room.


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