Time To Abolish Odd Year Spring Elections

The fact that we continue to hold odd year spring elections just baffles me. I think I’ve bitched about this before, but the election that was just held this past Tuesday was beyond the absurd.

We had one contested statewide election…Superintendent of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction which incumbent Tony Evers won handily.

We had one uncontested statewide election…for the Wisconsin Supreme Court…with the incumbent Justice Annette Ziegler returning for another 10 year term. (Why she ran unopposed is a whole ‘nother reprehensible story)

A serious number of school funding referenda, most of which passed.

And a handful of local judgeships and school board members…most of them uncontested.

With so few races to start with and so incredibly few contested races…Milwaukee County voter turnout was an abysmal 14.8%. While in the City of Milwaukee is was an even more embarrassing 13.24%

Every municipality had to hire poll workers, test and move voting machines, count and track and report results just like any other election. But it is essentially a waste of money.

I am not going to bemoan the fact that people don’t vote in these elections. They just don’t and there is nothing we can do to entice them out for these small time elections. (and yes I know the DPI is critically important, and the courts are civically important, and school boards are culturally important, and referenda have an increasing presence in Gov. Walker’s Wisconsin…so don’t try busting my chops on that…I am not suggesting we stop voting for these races). Moving them may help lower election season burnout on the part of the voters.

And it is really really unfair to the candidates to have low voter turnouts. It may actually keep us from electing qualified people.

There is no reason that these spring races couldn’t have been moved back to last fall along with the presidential race. NO: really there is absolutely no reason. So let’s petition Madison to do that…it’ll save money…it’ll improve voter involvement…it’ll be the civic thing to do.


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3 thoughts on “Time To Abolish Odd Year Spring Elections

  1. Agreed. There is zero reason to have two kinds of state offices be held in weird April elections, but all others aren’t.

    Just rotate 2 Supreme Court seats every 2 Novembers (1 of the 4 years will be a onesie), have Superintendent be the same time as Governor, AG, etc., and go from there. School Super and Supreme Court has stopped being a non-partisan race anyway, so we may as well make it official

  2. Agreed. This also needlessly increases costs and administrative burden for cities, towns and municipalities.

  3. I’m in favor of this. Our collective attention is elsewhere, despite the relative importance of many of these races. We’d have denser, richer ballots. Sure, people may be a little fatigued about having so many people at their door all the time, albeit nothing like the electoral fatigue we had a few years ago. I’m curious how term lengths would be dealt with. Still, I think it’s well worth exploring.

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