Local Government: You & Your Vote Can Make a Difference

Julaine Appling

2021 | Week of March 29 | Radio Transcript #1405

A friend of mine ran for county board here in Wisconsin a couple of years ago. He lost by fewer than 10 votes in a county with over 100,000 eligible voters.

Another friend went to the polls in our spring election a few years back and found that in the race for his county board district, no one was running. So, this friend wrote in his own name, called his wife and asked her to write in his name.  During the day, someone else did the same thing and at the closing of the polls,  my friend and this other person each had 2 votes. The election officials threw the names into a hat and drew out one—and that’s how my friend became a county supervisor for the next two years.

I could relate many similar close-election stories from right here in Wisconsin—and most of them happen in elections where there is low voter turnout—elections just like the one we are in right now—the one that culminates next Tuesday, April 6, Wisconsin’s official Spring Nonpartisan General Election Day.

Your vote matters in every election—and it matters even more in these low voter-turnout elections. In a very real sense, if only 20 percent of the eligible voters show up, you are voting for 5 people when you cast your ballot. Consider the power of your vote if you are tempted to not vote in this election.

In this election cycle, only one statewide race is on the ballot and that’s for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a constitutional office in Wisconsin with authority in particular over the Department of Public Instruction. Bear in mind that K-12 education is one of the top areas of spending in our state. Who oversees how our tax dollars are spent is important.

The candidates for this office this year are Dr. Jill Underly and Dr. Deb Kerr. You can find educational information about these two candidates at wifamilycouncil.org. That’s wifamilycouncil.org. We urge you to get informed about the candidates so you can cast a knowledgeable and responsible ballot.

In addition to this statewide race, all citizens will have local races on their ballots. This is the annual election where we determine mayors, city council members, town and village board members, school board members, and judges from the municipal level up. Many school districts may have a spending referendum on the ballot.

The reality is no level of government impacts our lives more than local government. Electing good people to local government helps ensure that where we live is a good place for families, respects property rights, keeps taxes reasonable, protects religious freedom, keeps boys claiming to be girls out of the girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms at school, and much more.

Often, especially in our smaller communities, the people who sit in these decision-making seats are our neighbors or friends from church or other social groups we have. The truth is the level of government where we can have the most impact is local government, and that impact starts with making sure we vote.

Absentee voting by mail is underway now but ballots must be received in the clerks’ offices by the close of the polls, 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 6. You don’t have to return the ballot by mail; you can give it to your clerk in person. Early in-person voting is underway statewide right now through the close of business this Friday.

To get other general election information and to see your sample ballot, visit myvote.wi.gov, that’s myvote.wi.gov.

As I’ve said many times, elections have consequences—all elections. This one will be no exception. You can be part of helping to ensure that the consequences are good, especially for your home community. We have an opportunity to be part of the solution.

Turnout for the spring primary election in February barely topped 7 percent. The general election will be higher, but I’d be surprised if we even get to 20 percent. Consider how much impact in this type of election you personally could have if you made sure you and 10 others voted—especially if your 10 recruits each recruited at least 5 others.  In a close local election, your individual recruiting could end up making the difference in who wins and represents you over the next several years.

Don’t wake up next Wednesday morning saying, “Oh, man! My choice for (name the office)lost. If I had only….”  You have time right now to be a real difference maker.

For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

Julaine Appling has taught on the junior high, high school, and college levels, and for five years was the administrator of a private school. In 1998 she was asked to become the Executive Director of Wisconsin Family Council, where her mission is to advance Judeo-Christian principles and values in Wisconsin by strengthening, preserving, and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty. In addition to regularly being interviewed for Wisconsin television, radio, and newspapers, she is the host of "Wisconsin Family Connection," aired weekly on almost 50 radio stations in Wisconsin including the VCY America radio network.

Learn more at WIFamilyCouncil.org

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