Next Tuesday, Aug. 14, is primary election day in Wisconsin, and the often-used phrase that “every vote counts” could be more true than ever.
Depending on where a person lives, there are several hotly contested races in the area which could be decided by just a few votes.
Yes, it is a partisan primary, which means voters must choose a single party in which to cast their votes. That means a Calumet County voter, for example, cannot help decide the Democratic candidate for governor while at the same time deciding between the two sheriff candidates on the Republican ticket. Yes, it is a system which seems to make little sense, but voters do a disservice to society if they use the system as an excuse to stay away from the polls.
Speaking of sheriff, it is somewhat rare to have any kind of competitive race for a county-level office, let alone one which is fairly intense as the Calumet County sheriff’s race has been. The good news is both candidates—Jeff Hebl and Mark Wiegert—are experienced, local law enforcement officers, and next Tuesday’s winner will bring that experience with him to the sheriff’s seat.
It is important to note that the winner in next Tuesday’s primary in that sheriff’s race and some other area races effectively will be elected to office as there are no other candidates in the other party for the November general election. That is another huge reason why people should get to the polls next week.
Another example of next Tuesday’s election being a “final” instead of a “semifinal” is the State Assembly 59th District which serves the city of New Holstein and points to the south—all the way down to the city of Hartford. All four candidates are on the Republican ticket, so Tuesday’s winner will be the person who takes the seat of the retiring Jesse Kremer. The four candidates range from the north end of the district to the south end and two in between, so it will be interesting to see who ends up with the most votes.
The August primary comes in the middle of summer when a lot of people are on vacation. Despite this plea and others, will turnouts top even 20 percent of eligible voters? Races could be decided by dozens of votes instead of hundreds or thousands. They could even be decided by the person reading this right now.
—Mark Sherry