During the fall election season, many people head to the polls and vote in races for the House, presidency, governor, and Senate seats. However, in just under four weeks, there will be another election that is arguably of near equal importance. The main race on the ballot April 7th is the Democratic presidential primary. It is closely followed by a contest for state Supreme Court seat, which puts conservative-backed incumbent Dan Kelly against liberal-supported Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky. In addition, two school board and three village board seats (as well as the municipal judge) are also on the ballot. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t bother voting in the spring elections because they see them as lesser to elections held in the fall. However, that’s not the case. The state government also has three branches like the federal government, each originally intended to be of equal weight and importance with checks and balances between them. The seven state Supreme Court justices make up the state’s chief legal review body as part of the judicial branch. In addition, terms are for ten years, so paying attention to who is running is important. In a representative democracy like the United States, citizens elect other individuals to make decisions on their behalf. The only real vestige of a direct democracy in America is direct voting. It is critical to take advantage of every opportunity (particularly for the younger generation) to use the given constitutional right to have a say in American affairs. Not every country is as fortunate as the United States to have this right.
In addition, local seats for elected bodies like village board, town board, and school board are just as important as the national and state races. Why? Well, there is a key difference between local and state/national races. Local officials affect and can change things we interact with on a daily basis, like our own streets, parks, or neighborhoods for example. The national or state government doesn’t always have an effect on our day-to-day lives like local government does. This year, there will be a wonderful contested village board election, pitting three incumbents (Erin Moran, Joe Zitzelsberger, and Dr. Bill Ranum) against two newcomers, Nila Frye and Robert McPherson. Over the course of the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to walk door-to-door for all five of these individuals. I’ve served on a village committee with three of them. However, I would strongly encourage voters to back Nila Frye and Robert McPherson. They both have extensive resumes full of policy, employment, and community experience that will benefit the citizens of the community. Frye alone has served on ten village committees since 1977. McPherson has worked for 16 years in banking, quality control, and compliance. I am proud to back individuals that I know will do the research and “homework” required to do the job to the best of their ability. In addition, I live in the part of town north of Six Mile Creek and Main Street. My part of the community hasn’t had a trustee representative of its own since May 2001. Frye lives there and if elected will be a voice for an area that has been underrepresented for far too long. Village board seats are elected at large from throughout the community. In this election, voters can choose up to three on the ballot. A common misconception is that a voter has to choose three candidates for their votes to count. However, a person is welcome to only vote for one or two if they would like to do so. In addition, incumbent and former WHS math teacher Joan Ensign is facing a challenge from Joel Lewis for a seat on the school board.
Overall, take the time to vote on April 7th. Citizens can register to vote whenever Village Hall is open or at the polls on the day of the election. Can’t get to the polls on April 7th? Starting March 16th continuing until the Friday before the election, citizens can participate in early voting, also known as an absentee ballot, during business hours at the Village Hall. That way, the election day lines at the Village Center can be avoided. Take the time to vote on the 7th. For many seniors, this is the first or second opportunity of their lives to do so. I’d strongly suggest using that new right to have a say from the ballot box. Every vote matters, so take advantage of an important citizen right and have a say in the American democracy.