Tuesday’s primary election includes a lot of interesting races, but you can’t vote in all of them.
In primaries, the law requires you must vote as a Democrat or a Republican (or a Libertarian or Constitution Party member, but there are no primary choices available for those parties, which are nevertheless listed on the ballot.)
You might want to register your preference on the Democratic side for Rock County sheriff, and you might also want to help choose a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.
Don’t try it. The ballot-reading machine will spit your ballot out.
The poll workers will give you a new ballot, and if you err again, you can get a third—and final—ballot.
How many will vote?
This is an important midterm election, pundits and politicians keep telling us.
Rock County Clerk Lisa Tollefson predicts turnout of about 20 percent of Rock County’s 120,000 eligible voters.
That’s 24,000 votes, just a few hundred more than in the 2016 August primary.
Tollefson notes there’s a lot of interest in some races, but she didn’t see a great number of absentee ballots cast. More absentee ballots can predict a bigger overall turnout.
Tollefson speculated a lot of people are waiting to vote until Tuesday because it’s taking people more time to decide who they’re voting for.
Tuesday’s ballot offers a lot more choices than usual: There are five Republicans—Paul Nehlen, Nick Polce, Jeremy Ryan, Kevin Adam Steen and Bryan Steil—in the 1st Congressional District race, for example, and eight Democrats are on the ballot for governor. (Note: Republican Brad Boivin is still on the ballot but has dropped out of the 1st District race, and Andy Gronik and Dana Wachs have dropped out of the governor’s race.)
In another statewide race, voters on the Republican side will choose which of five candidates gets to take on incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin for her seat. The best known of the five are Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir.
In the 1st Congressional District, voters will choose between Democrats Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers to take on the winning Republican in the race to replace Janesville’s Paul Ryan.
It’s the first time in 20 years that Ryan won’t be running and winning.
It’s also the first time in 12 years that Rock County voters will choose a new sheriff with Robert Spoden retiring.
There’s only one primary in the sheriff’s race, however, on the Democratic side. The winner between Gary Groelle and Troy Knudson will face the lone Republican, Jude Maurer, on Nov. 6.
Even the Rock County clerk of courts Democratic primary between Sue Enloe, Peter Severson and incumbent Jacki Gackstatter has been hotly contested.
To learn more about your ballot, check with your local municipal clerk or go online to myvote.wi.gov.
That same website can tell you your polling place and whether you are registered to vote.