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Voters Will Decide on Partisanship Locally

Editorial Board, La Crosse Tribune | Published on 4/3/2022

Close readers of our Good Morning Page 2 likely have seen the impactful “Why I Vote” submissions by area residents, published on Tuesdays and coordinated by the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area.

With the spring election on Tuesday, these are worth reviewing and sharing.

Here are just three:

“I vote because I want my voice heard. I want to participate in my community about those things that affect everyday life and things that I find important.” — Carrie Jick of La Crosse.

“I became a naturalized citizen in 2003. ... Now more than ever, as a U.S. Citizen, I am more aware of what’s at stake in elections and the country’s future. It’s a basic civic duty to vote. I acknowledge those who fought tirelessly for this opportunity and for those who continue do so every day. I cannot stress enough the importance of voting. Your voice matters, your vote matters!” — José Rubio-Zepeda, La Crosse.

“I vote because I don’t want my rights taken away. As citizens we all have the right and duty to vote to ensure the values of democracy are honored. Just as I had the responsibility, the duty and the privilege to support and defend the Constitution of the United States in my service in the United States Air Force, I have the duty and obligation to vote for a government that lives by the rule of law as written in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. If you don’t use it you may lose it.” — Bob Huff, La Crescent.

Tuesday’s election — the second of four in Wisconsin in 2022 — is as important as any. You’re electing people at the county and local government and school level who will set local policies and priorities, and determine your tax rates.

Did you know that these local races bring out a lower turnout than the state and national races later this year. That really should change, and it can start now.

Unfortunately, some of these local campaigns have been littered with divisiveness and negativity, the kind you see in state and national races these days. Partisan infighting and spending have filtered into the campaigns for non-partisan seats in the most local of elections.

On top of that, the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area could not get full participation from candidates for its voters’ guides — for the first time in its nearly 100 years.

“This year, we are seeing a disconcerting trend where some candidates are claiming in writing that the League of Women Voters is a partisan organization and as such, they won’t participate in our efforts to inform voters on their candidacy or positions. We find this to be not only an inaccurate claim but a disservice to the voters of the La Crosse area, especially during spring elections which by design are nonpartisan elections,” wrote Robin Schmidt, president of the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area, in a recent column published in the Tribune along with dozens of candidate endorsement letters.

Those letters, while mostly positive for a candidate of choice, also discussed an alarming trend of partisanship, divisiveness and attacks in these most local of races.

Voters will go a long way on April 5 in deciding where we go from here. Unlike state and national elections, local voters can have direct impact here.

Will we reject the negative and divisive candidates and vote for people who plan to work together for the community and understand these are non-partisan seats?

Or will we reward those who attack and divide in the name of change?

Time will tell on April 5. Why do you vote?