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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz Commentary

Voting polls open until 8 p.m. in Milwaukee tonight. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com)

Spring elections are important, too.


There's a good chance you won't see as many people wearing those "I Voted" stickers today.

It's Election Day in Wisconsin and Milwaukee but because it's a spring election the turnout is expected to be relatively light.

Like only two out of every 10 voters light.

Voter turnout will likely be smaller than usual because there aren't a lot of "sexy" races today. No candidates for governor, mayor or county executive to elect. Most city aldermen aren't running either.

If elections were like a rock concert, there's no superstar on the ballot to put butts in the seats.

But for anyone who takes voting seriously, turning out for today's election is pretty important. If you care about education, the state's top education chief is on the ballot. If you are concerned about justice, it's time to pick the top judge in the highest court in the state today.

Care about same-day registration and whether you will be able to go out and register in the next few hours before polls close and still get your vote counted?

That's on the ballot, too.

The judges' races are particularly relevant, according to Milwaukee Municipal Court Judge Derek Mosley. He's not on the ballot today but has advice for the thousands of eligible voters in Milwaukee who are expected to take a pass.

"Spring elections are important for two reasons," Mosley told me during an interview. "First, and the most obvious, is that these individuals elected will be administering justice in your local municipality, county, and state.

"Second, and the most important in my opinion, is the fact that these judges elected in spring elections generally make up the pool of applicants selected to serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

"So whether your issue is voter ID, same-day registration, or marriage equality, these issues will stand or fall at the hands of judges who are elected in notoriously low-turnout spring elections."

Mosley pointed out that indifference by voters to spring judicial elections, especially in southeastern Wisconsin, which is the most ethnically diverse part of the state, is one of the reasons why there is no representatives from Milwaukee or southeastern Wisconsin on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

That means when important local issues come before the court - whether it's the photo ID law currently on hold or the Act 10 collective bargaining law Gov. Walker managed to pass in the Legislature that was upheld - there won't be any input from Milwaukee, the state's largest and most important city.

Doesn't seem right, does it?

The hot races are for state school superintendent, where current head Tony Evers is running for re-election against state Rep. Don Pridemore at a time when some drastic changes in funding for public education are being considered by state politicians.

The state Supreme Court race has essentially become a referendum on Justice Patience Roggensack's performance as a judge as she's pitted against Marquette University Law professor Edward Fallone.

There's even a Walker angle if you want it: Milwaukee Circuit Judge Rebecca Bradley faces her first election with voters after being appointed by Walker last November. She faces former Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Janet Potasiewic, who signed the petition to recall Walker last year.

If you want a "sexy" Election Day, the issues are there if you want to search for them. Of course, most people don't want sexy as much as they want good government that they can play a part in choosing.

That's what Election Day is really about. Polls are open today until 8 p.m.

Act accordingly.

Talkbacks

AndrewJ | April 3, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. (report)

Was fully prepared to "act accordingly" yesterday and cast my vote regarding same day registration, only to find it wasn't on my ballot. Got home and after a quick check, found out this was only being asked in the city of Milwaukee and in Dane County. What a great sample. That's like taking a "Do you like red meat?" poll down at Carnevor.

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testdee | April 2, 2013 at 8:55 p.m. (report)

Why wasn't the same-day voting on my ballot? I do not live near Milwaukee, but isn't the same-day voting have a statewide effect?

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