The duty and excitement of voting

"Your County"
By Jim Baumgart Sheboygan County Supervisor

The very import fall election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 2. That is only two weeks away. Wisconsin voters will be electing a new governor who will lead us for the next four years. We will also be electing other statewide office holders, United States senator, members of the state Senate and Assembly, as well as officials at the county level.

I take my civic duty to vote seriously and so do my friends. In my 50 years of voting I did miss two primary elections when I was in the United States Army; one of my absentee ballots came to too late for me to vote and the other was my fault because when I received the ballot I put it on the side and found it after the election was over. I did miss one other election; as I remember, it was a judicial spring election in Sheboygan County. To this day, I still feel bad about missing those elections.

The election process is intended to be easy. Why? Because you and your vote are important and only you can use it. And, if for some reason you cannot vote on Tuesday, Nov. 2, you can vote early with absentee ballot. All you need to do is stop in at your city, village or town clerk’s office and ask to vote absentee. (You may want to call first to find out the office hours.) If you are not yet registered to vote, you will need to do it before you vote. (You can do register on voting day by showing two items of identification that includes your home address but it is always best to register early.) Once registered, you will be able to vote.

Some people will try to find all kinds of reasons why they should not vote. We’ve all heard the excuses: “my one vote doesn’t count,” “these candidates are all the same,” “I don’t know who these people are,” “I only vote for president” and there are many other excuses including a few that too crude to print.

If you are new to the area or you are a new voter and are not sure where to vote, you can call the Sheboygan County Clerk’s office at (920) 459-3003. They will give you assistance and provide directions as well as the telephone number of the city, village or town clerk where you live and any other information that will be helpful.

Better yet, can go directly to the Sheboygan County Web site at www.co.sheboygan.wi.us, click on departments, click on county clerk, click on elections and most of the information you will need will come up right before your eyes. You can find out who will be on the general ballot, your local unit of government clerk’s office and more. But if you still are having a problem, call the County Clerk’s office at the number listed above.

Who should someone vote for? Well, that can be the hard part but it can also be the most interesting. Getting your voting information from political ads on TV or radio, political telephone calls, political party or candidate mailings have to be looked at with lots and lots of care. It may be best to listen to candidate debates (public radio dose a good job in hosting interviews with major candidates for Congress and statewide offices for both political parties) or reading local editorials; also news stories are good places to check. But at the end, it will be you, with your lone secret ballot, to decide who you feel will best serve you.

It is exciting to be part of this important process. Your vote is very important. On Tuesday, Nov. 2, please come out and vote for the candidates of your choice. My wife and I will be there and hopefully so will you.


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