Spring & Presidential Preference Election Tuesday – Have you heard about Badger Books?

By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff

As often seems to be the case, this year the Democratic and Republican Presidential nominees have been all but officially decided before Wisconsin voters get a chance to weigh in. There are still some important contested elections, however, on the county and local level, not to mention two constitutional amendments.

In the city there’s only one contested race, for the at-large seat on the Common Council. The two district council positions have only one candidate. There will be three names on the ballot for two seats on the School Board; however, Larry Kachel has indicated he that would be unable to serve.

There will be only one polling place for the city in this election, the Downtown Armory at 146 W. North Street. As always, the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters will notice two significant changes from all the previous elections. Instead of there being the usual four check-in tables, there will be only two divisions, one for Jefferson County residents and the other for Walworth County. Once a voter arrives at their county section, they may approach any poll worker (officially called an election inspector) who is sitting at a Badger Book. These electronic devices are replacing the paper poll books. The voter is still required by law to state their name and address and provide their driver license or other photo ID. Rather than signing in ink, the signature will be provided on the electronic screen. This may be done either by using the provided stylus or with a finger. The signature must be written entirely within a box on the screen. Never fear, the signature need not bear great resemblance to one’s usual signature. From there, the process will be essentially the same as before, except that the voter will be provided a receipt that indicates the style of paper ballot which they are to be issued at the next table. The ballots will be marked by the voter in the same fashion as previously.

Here is a link to a brief video from the City of De Pere which provides an excellent introduction to the Badger Books. As is shown in the video, the Badger Books will also be used to register new voters or to enter changes of address. Our voters will, however, be directed to a separate station for this purpose. After the voter is registered or their address is changed, the same poll worker will provide the receipt that they need in order to obtain their ballot.

By entering your address at this site you may see what will be on your ballot.

The League of Women Voters Whitewater Area has published its local online Voter Guide on the VOTE411.org platform. The League sent a questionnaire to a total of 119 local candidates running in 45 contested races in many villages, towns and cities in Walworth and Jefferson counties. Questions were provided in English and Spanish and candidates were encouraged to reply in both languages. Communities with contested races included in the Voter Guide are: in JEFFERSON CO. cities of Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Waterloo, Watertown, Town of Ixonia, Villages of Johnson Creek and Palmyra; and, in WALWORTH CO. cities of Delavan, Elkhorn, Lake Geneva, Whitewater, Towns of Richmond and East Troy, and Villages of Fontana, Mukwonago and Sharon. Ten local municipal and school board referendums will also appear in the Voter Guide.

The League’s Voter Guide on VOTE411.org is a source of nonpartisan candidate information where voters can go to read candidates’ responses to the League’s questionnaires. By visiting the site (click on “Find What’s On Your Ballot”), you will be able to compare their answers, which are posted verbatim. The League encourages voters to start their candidate research before they cast their ballot so they are informed voters on Election Day.

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