We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

Spring election for April Fool's Day?

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By John W. Eyster
Monday, March 31, 2014

Have YOU noted the embarrassing reports projecting VOTER TURNOUT for our WI SPRING ELECTION DAY tomorrow (April 1, 2014)?  Believe it or not – the projection is 12%!  Do YOU really think about what this means?  ONLY 1.2 ELIGIBLE VOTERS out of 10 will vote across WI.  There will be some local elections which gain MORE attention.  Rock County Clerk, Lorrie Stottler, projects lower than usual voter turnout in Rock County expecting between 16% and 19%.  HOPEFUL!  I appreciated Stottler’s positive spin on LOW VOTER TURNOUT:  Those who vote have a bigger impact on the results than they would if more people voted!  DAH! 

I am one of the FORTUNATE VOTERS since my Rock County Supervisory District #9 is one of only 5 out of the 29 districts of the Rock County Board in which there is opposition!  I am going to vote for LYMAN E. ELLIOT III because I know his qualities as a person and his commitment to public service.  This is Lyman’s first run for public elective office and I hope WE THE PEOPLE of the 9th District will PLUG HIM IN NOW.  I believe that LYMAN will be a TRULY NON-PARTISAN supervisor.  In my opinion, the incumbent, Rick Richard, has been a clearly PARTISAN supervisor.  I agree with his campaign issues:  (1) Adding transparency to county government and increase public input. (2) Strengthen the connections between the layers of government in the county and make sure that land use planning takes the “long view.”  (3) Strengthening emergency services and preparedness.  (4) Improving community health. (5) Reconsidering the county administrator selection process.  I am going to vote for LYMAN.

The Janesville Gazette has done us all a real service with its coverage helping us prepare to be INFORMED VOTERS on APRIL 1.  Remember, SPRING ELECTION is NON-PARTISAN.  None of the candidates has an official label.  The idea of NON-PARTISAN is one of the innovations in American political history with the goal of developing PUBLIC POLICY serving WE THE PEOPLE rather than public policy serving the benefit of a political party.  If you want a case study exercise, review the actions of our WI STATE LEGISLATURE in the recently completed session.  I would assert there are numerous bills which the Governor has signed into law.  I myself am particularly offended by the continuing legislation of our REPUBLICAN dominated WI State Government to CURTAIL VOTING in WI!  Do YOU agree that REDUCING the number of hours available for VOTING is healthy for our democracy?  I DO NOT!!

I commend the Gazette’s editorial today (3/31), “Vote Tuesday, but please do so as informed citizen.”

Pay attention to this URGENT message: “Sure, you’ve got a busy schedule this week. But please take time Tuesday to get to your polling place and vote.”

The point is significant and well taken, “However, while voting is a civic duty, it’s an even greater civic responsibility to vote as an informed citizen. So please, if you haven’t done so, spend a little time learning the candidates and issues.”  Interesting that the editorial writer cited the statement by the 26th President of the US, Theodore Roosevelt, “A vote is like a rifle:  its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”

The editorial underscores the fact that our votes tomorrow select local leaders who “…have the biggest impact on our lives.  Consider:  “Municipal officials can decide how much you’ll pay in property taxes and fees such as a wheel tax. They determine how often streets are plowed and rebuilt or where that new fire station might go. These school board members decide whether your children or grandkids need new textbooks or more computers, whether the district should strive to bring in foreign students, and perhaps even whether a school closes.”

Complementing the editorial is the Gazette’s guide to contested elections in Walworth and Rock counties.

Additionally, today the Gazette features FrankSchultz’s “Voter’s Guide:  Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday’s elections”

The Janesville League of Women Voters website at lwvjvl.org   has links to the local school board candidates forum and YouTube segments of the city council forum.

Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and all are accessible to people with handicaps.

For general SPRING ELECTION Information, you can use our WI Government Accountability Board’s “Voter Information Center”

This website lists of “everything you wanted to know about voting, but didn’t dare ask”! (Apology to book titled, “Everythingyou wanted to know about sex (but didn’t dare ask)” including your own personal VOTING RECORD!  Yes, we do have a “secret ballot” – HOW we vote, but whether or not we vote is PUBLIC RECORD.  Political parties and others buy the official voter lists from governments.  Check out your record in “My Vote Wisconsin.”

Tomorrow is APRIL FOOLS’ DAY – Don’t be a FOOL by NOT voting!

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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