Badger State was itself in primary vote

IT’S NOT OFTEN ANYMORE that Wisconsin’s presidential preferential primary has any significant impact on the process of selecting presidential candidates for the major parties.

But in this upside down electoral year, the Badger State threw at least a small monkey wrench in the front-running engines of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and gave more hope to Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, winners of the primary, as they chase the front-runners on the Republican and Democratic sides, respectively.

On the political spectrum, there are probably no two candidates out of all those still in the presidential race farther from each other than Cruz and Sanders, but that’s probably not so surprising in a state that gave us both Joe McCarthy and Gaylord Nelson, two political polar opposites if there ever were any, in the same generation.

Perhaps the most heartening thing about last Tuesday’s results was the heavy voter turnout – the largest in the state for a spring election in more than four decades.

Democracy requires engagement and the primary turnout shows that voters across the state were engaged in the process – from both ends of the spectrum and at every point in between.

It was also the second election where voters – and election officials – had to deal with the state’s Voter ID law.

Given that added to the heavy voter turnout, it could have been a recipe for delays, waits, frustration and aggravation – but for the most part, it didn’t.

There were long lines and waits at some polling places, but nothing close to the kinds of waits, frustration and accusations seen in other states, such as Arizona, so far this electoral season.

The necessity and impact of the Voter ID law is still not settled, but Tuesday’s experience showed that, for the most part its impact was minimal – just as the alleged voter fraud used by many to justify the law was probably minimal as well.

The truth about voter fraud and voter disenfranchisement caused by the Voter ID law both probably lie somewhere between the extremes cited by proponents and opponents of the law.

It does demonstrate that, while we can and do disagree – and often – on issues and politics, we need to remember that it takes all of us to make it work.

For the most part, as always, the election process worked smoothly Tuesday.

That was due in no small part to a veritable army of dedicated poll workers at polling places all across the state.

These selfless volunteers represent the essence of democracy in action, giving their time and effort to ensure that the electoral process works smoothly and provides all who wish to do so the chance to play their part in the democratic process. They do it under sometimes incredible pressure, with for the most part equanimity and grace that make democracy work for all.

No matter where any of us stand on the political spectrum, we should be unanimous in our support and thanks to all those poll workers and election officials who step up to make the process work smoothly and successfully.

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