Monday, October 12, 2020

All the Information You Need to Vote and Races to Watch


Previewing the November 2020 Election

The General Election is November 3, 2020. Wisconsin voters will get to cast their ballots for U.S. President, Congress, State Senators from even-numbered districts, State Assembly and school referendums. 

Important Voting Information 

What's On Your Ballot: You can preview your ballot prior to voting at myvote.wi.gov. 

Deadline to Register to Vote: You can register to vote at the polls on Election Day. If you wish to register to vote prior to Election Day, you can do so online until October 14 or at your clerk's office until October 30. You need to submit a proof of residence document when registering to vote.


Proof of Residence: You only need a proof of residence if you are registering to vote. Lots of documents qualify as proof of residence. The document must contain your current address. The most common ones are driver's license, state ID card, utility bill that is no more than 90 days old, bank or credit card statements, paycheck or paystub, current lease and more! Learn more here. 


Photo ID Requirement: All Wisconsin voters need to meet the state's photo ID requirement whether the vote absentee or at the polls on Election Day. There are limited exceptions for voters who are indefinitely confined or who have a sincerely held religious belief the prevents them from being photographed. Your photo ID does not need to have your current address. You can view a list of acceptable photo IDs here or here


Deadline to Request a Mail-in Absentee Ballot: Your Request must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 29. However, due to the high demand for absentee ballots, it is recommended that you request one as soon as possible. Request an absentee ballot here.


Deadline to Return Your Absentee Ballot: Current law requires your absentee ballot to be received by the municipal clerk no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. There is currently a lawsuit pending related to extending this deadline. Due to the ongoing nature of this lawsuit, it is strongly encouraged that you return your ballot based on the current law deadline. 


Track Your Absentee Ballot: You can track your ballot to ensure that it is received by your local clerk at myvote.wi.gov.


Early In-Person Voting: You can vote in-person absentee at your local clerk's office (early voting). This varies by municipality, but generally you can vote early starting October 20 and ending November 1. You will need to bring a Photo ID with you to vote early. Contact your clerk to learn more. 


Find Your Polling Place: Find your polling place here


Voting at the Polls on Election Day: You can vote at the polls on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Due to COVID-19, your polling place may have changed! Double-check before heading to the polls. 


When in Doubt, Contact Your Municipal Clerk: The best source of information is your municipal clerk. Find your clerk here


 


Races to Watch


On the federal level, President Donald Trump is looking to win re-election and control of Congress is at stake. On the state level, control of the Legislature is on the ballot. Republicans currently have an 18-13 majority in the State Senate and a 63-34 majority in the State Assembly.  If Republicans pick up three Senate seats and three Assembly seats, they will have veto-proof majorities in both houses.

 

Congress

 

Wisconsin’s eight Congressional seats are up for election. Every race will be decided by the General Election.

 

  • Congressional District 5: This seat is open for the first time in 42 years due to the  retirement of Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R). State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) is running against Tom Palzewicz (D-Brookfield).


  • Congressional District 7: This race is a repeat of this summer’s special election to fill Congressman Sean Duffy’s (R) seat. Congressman Tom Tiffany (R-Minoqua), who won the special election with 58% of the vote, will once again take on Tricia Zunker (D-Wausau).

 

State Senate

 

Even-numbered State Senate seats are up for election. Five seats are uncontested and 11 races will be decided by the General Election.


  • Senate District 10: Senate Republicans are hoping to win back Senate District 10 by defeating Senator Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset) who flipped the seat to Democratic control by winning a special election in January 2018. Schactner is being challenged by State Representative Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond).

  •  Senate District 24: State Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) flipped this seat to Republican control in November 2016 after defeating Democratic incumbent Julie Lassa. Testin is being challenged by Paul Piotrowski (D-Stevens Point).

  • Senate District 30: State Senate Republicans are targeting the vacant seat in Senate District 30, which was left open by the retirement of Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). Hansen won re-election in November 2016 with just 51% of the vote. Jonathon Hansen (D-De Pere), nephew of Dave Hansen, is running against Eric Wimberger (R-Green Bay).

  • Senate District 32: State Senate Republicans are also targeting the vacant seat in Senate District 32, which was left open by the retirement of Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). Dan Kapanke (R- La Crosse), who previously held the seat until losing the 2011 recall election to Shilling, is running against former Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska), whose confirmation was rejected by the State Senate earlier this year. Kapanke ran against Shilling in November 2016 and only lost by 61 votes.

 

State Assembly

 

All 99 State Assembly seats are up for election. Eighteen seats are uncontested, and 81 seats will be determined by the General Election. 


  • Assembly District 13: Incumbent State Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) won re-election in November 2018 with just over 51% of the vote. Hutton faces Sara Rodriguez (D-Brookfield) on November 3.

  • Assembly District 14: Assembly Republicans are heavily targeting this seat after State Representative Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa) flipped the seat to Democratic control in November 2018 by just 138 votes. Vining faces Bonnie Lee (R-Wauwatosa) on November 3.

  • Assembly District 23: Incumbent State Representative Jim Ott (R-Mequon) won re-election in November 2018 with just under 52% of the vote. Ott faces Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay) on November 3.

  • Assembly District 51: Incumbent Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) won re-election by 723 votes in November 2016 and by 332 votes in November 2018. Novak faces Kriss Marion (D- Blanchardville) on November 3.

  • Assembly District 74: Assembly Republicans have identified this seat as a possible flip after a majority of the voters in the district voted for President Trump in 2016. Incumbent State Representative Beth Meyers (D-Bayfield) was uncontested in 2016. She is being challenged by James Bolen (R-Cable) on November 3.

  • Assembly District 92: State Representative Treig Pronschinske (R-Mondovi) won this seat in November 2016 after defeating incumbent Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau) with 52% of the vote. However, Pronschinske easily won re-election with 55% of the vote in November 2018. He is being challenged by Amanda WhiteEagle (D-Black River Falls) on November 3.

  •  Assembly District 94: Assembly Republicans have identified this seat as a possible flip after a majority of the voters in the district voted for President Trump in 2016. Incumbent State Representative Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) won re-election with nearly 53% of the vote in 2016. He is being challenged by Kevin Hoyer (R-West Salem) on November 3.



Thursday, September 17, 2020

State Superintendent Stanford Taylor Highlights Virtual Learning, Literacy in State of Education Address

State Superintendent Stanford Taylor delivered her annual State of Education address Thursday. She highlighted the efforts of educators across the state to provide instruction to students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 


She spent considerable time discussing virtual education and technology, noting that an estimated 15% of Wisconsin households, representing approximately 125,000 Wisconsin children, lacked internet access in 2019. 

"The response of our education community was swift," said Stanford Taylor. "School buses were redeployed as mobile hotspots. School staff delivered Chromebooks or mobile hotspots to children’s homes. DPI partnered with the Public Service Commission to identify public Wi-Fi locations so students and families could continue learning."

Stanford Taylor said that DPI worked with schools and libraries to keep Wi-Fi available even though buildings were closed, allowing students to access the internet from parking lots. In addition, she highlighted the work of PBS Wisconsin to provide instructional materials through broadcast or streaming means as well as the Governor's Task Force on Broadband Access. 

Stanford Taylor said that federal CARES Act funding is being used for professional development efforts related to online or virtual instruction. 

She also highlighted the importance of literacy for Wisconsin students. 

"Now, more than ever, it is critical for citizens - even our youngest citizens - to be able to use literacy to acquire information about our world and communicate the ways they want to see their communities change," said Stanford Taylor. "The simple way we can do this is to work with our libraries - school and public libraries - to ensure children experience texts that reflect their identities and teach them about other identities."

She concluded her speech by previewing her 2021-23 state budget request, which she said will include increased funding for special education and school-based mental health services, and by calling on education stakeholders to work together to address inequities. 

You can watch her full remarks here



Monday, August 3, 2020

Ask Your Congressional Representative and Two U.S. Senators to Support Dedicated Ed Tech PD Funds

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are currently negotiating a new COVID-19 relief bill. 

ISTE, which WEMTA is an affiliate organization of, is asking everyone to contact their Congressional Representative and two U.S. Senators to ask that the next COVID-19 relief bill include $2.13 billion in dedicated educational technology professional development funds.  

Please contact your federal lawmakers as soon as possible in support of this request!  It is critical that they hear from you about the need for educational technology professional development funding. The most important thing you can do is share your personal stories and examples!

ISTE has prepared an automated email that you can send: https://www.iste.org/advocacy?vvsrc=%2fcampaigns%2f75085%2frespond. However, we encourage you to call or email your lawmakers personally to share your stories in your own words. 


How to Contact Your Congressional Representative and U.S. Senators

Monday, July 27, 2020

Governor Evers Announces $46.6 Million in Extra Funding for Schools

Governor Evers has announced that he is making $46.6 million in federal CARES Act funding available for K-12 schools. According to the Governor, 155 local education agencies are eligible to apply for these funds. 

It’s vital to ensure the schools across Wisconsin that are most significantly impacted by COVID-19 have the additional resources they need as they make decisions about how students will learn in the upcoming school year and beyond,” said Governor Evers. 

Funding is meant for schools most impacted by COVID-19. Eligibility criteria includes:

  • Economic disadvantage;
  • Access to personal computing devices;
  • Access to internet; and 
  • Students’ score on the English Language Arts Assessment. 
DPI will release more information on how schools can apply soon. 


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

WEMTA's Legislative Chair Emily Dittmar Appointed to Governor's Task Force on Broadband Access!

WEMTA is excited to announce that our Legislative Chair Emily Dittmar has been appointed to serve on the Governor's Taskforce on Broadband Access! Emily is one of 24 diverse stakeholders selected by the Governor to prepare a report on Broadband access in Wisconsin and to develop policy solutions aimed at tackling the digital divide. 

"This task force will bring together experts from across the state to research and recommend solutions that state leaders can adopt to connect every person in Wisconsin," said Governor Evers. 


The Governor has charged the Task Force with:


  • Researching and recommending forward-looking broadband policies and initiatives that address state broadband goals and needs;
  • Promoting the efficient, strategic expansion of the broadband facilities and adoption across the state;
  • Exploring and developing solutions, in collaboration with key broadband stakeholders and experts;
  • Reporting to the Governor and Legislature, annually by June 30, on:
    • Recommendations for facilitating the deployment and adoption of broadband in Wisconsin;
    • Appropriate measures of digital inclusion and strategies for addressing identified gaps and inequities; 
    • Opportunities for coordination among state, local, and federal agencies; 
    • Current and future needs, barriers, and goals regarding broadband access, affordability, and adoption; 
    • Opportunities for innovative approaches and partnerships to expand broadband adoption;
    • The role of broadband in Wisconsin’s key economic, public, and social sectors, including in education, healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, industry, Tribal Nations, energy, libraries, public safety, and tourism; 
    • The extent to which consumers, health care providers, educational institutions, libraries, and service providers have accessed federal Universal Service Funds; 
    • Advances in broadband technology; and 
    • The adequacy and appropriateness of existing statutory broadband goals.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Aug. 11 Wisconsin Primary Preview

Wisconsinites will cast their ballots in the Fall Primary on August 11, 2020. With the exception of the U.S. President, this election serves as the primary for all November 2020 races. Any U.S. Congressional, State Senate or State Assembly race that requires a primary will be on the ballot in August (races to watch are previewed below). 

Please consider requesting an absentee ballot for this Election to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Absentee ballot requests must be received by your municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday before the election (August 6) in order for an absentee ballot to be sent to you. Completed ballots must be received by your municipal clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

How to Request an Absentee Ballot 
1. Registered voters can request an absentee ballot be sent to them until August 6, 2020.  Due to the high demand for absentee ballots, election officials recommend submitting your request as soon as possible. 

2. Visit https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/RequestAnAbsenteeBallot and fill out the request form. You will need to upload a picture of your photo ID if this is your first time requesting an absentee ballot. 

3. Once you receive your ballot, fill it out using the instruction form that comes with the ballot. Both you and a witness will need to sign the certificate envelope.  The witness will also need to write their address. The City of Madison has made this helpful video explaining the absentee voting process: https://www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/elections-voting/voting/vote-absentee 

4. Your completed ballot must be returned to the Clerk's office by 8 p.m. on Election Day (August 11). 

View What's on Your Ballot 


You can preview your ballot by visiting: https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/PreviewMyBallot


Watch Candidate Interviews

Wisconsin Eye is interviewing all primary candidates. You can see all of the interviews here:https://wiseye.org/category/campaign/

Breakdown of Primary Races



The following is a breakdown of how the primary races in Wisconsin.

U.S. Congress

All eight members of the House of Representatives from Wisconsin's  Congressional Delegation are up for election. 

Uncontested: 0
Democratic Primary: 3
Republican Primary: 3
Decided by Primary: 0
Decided by General Election: 8

Primaries to Watch:

Congressional District 3: Incumbent Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) faces a primary challenge from Mark Neumann (D-La Crosse). The winner will face the winner of the Republican primary between Derrick Van Orden (R-Hager City) and Jessi Ebben (R-Eau Claire) in November. 

Congressional District 6: There is a three-person Democratic Primary that includes former state senator Jessica King (D-Oshkosh). The winner of the primary will run against Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) in November.


Wisconsin State Senate

State Senators from even-numbered districts are up for re-election. There are 16 seats up, but four are contested. 

Uncontested: 4 (Senators Cowles, L. Taylor, Stroebel and Wirch)
Democratic Primary: 5
Republican Primary: 3
Decided by Primary: 1 (SD 26)
Decided by General Election: 11

Primaries to Watch:

Senate District 6: Incumbent State Senator LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) faces a primary challenge from Michelle Bryant (D-Milwaukee).

Senate District 10: State Representative Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) is competing in the Republican primary against Cherie Link (R-Somerset). The winner takes on State Senator Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset) in November.

Senate District 14: State Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) is competing in the Republican primary against Ken Van Dyke (R- Scandinavia). The winner takes on Democrat Joni Anderson (D-Adams) for a chance to fill retiring State Senator Luther Olsen’s (R-Ripon)  seat.

Senate District 16: State Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) is running against Andrew McKinney (D-Cottage Grove) in the Democratic primary to fill retiring State Senator Mark Miller’s (D-Monona) seat. The winner faces Scott Barker (R-Sun Prairie) in November.

Senate District 26: Former state representative Kelda Roys (D-Madison) takes on six other opponents in the Democratic primary that will decide who fills retiring State Senator Fred Risser’s (D-Madison) seat. Risser served in the Legislature for 64 years. 

Senate District 32: Former Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska) takes on Paul Michael Weber (D-La Crosse) and Jayne Swiggum (D-Gays Mills) in the Democratic primary in the race to fill retiring State Senator Jennifer Shilling’s (D-La Crosse) seat. The winner will take on former state senator Dane Kapanke (R-La Crosse) in November.

Wisconsin State Assembly

All 99 members of the Wisconsin State Assembly are up for election. 

Uncontested: 17 (Representatives Steineke, Riemer, Bowen, Haywood, Goyke, Sinicki, Brandtjen, Vorpagel, Mursau, Schraa, Gundrum, Ramthun, Kerkman, Stubbs, Kuglitsch, Spiros and Duchow).
Democratic Primary: 13
Republican Primary: 12
Decided by Primary: 3 (AD 60, 78 and 98)
Decided by General Election: 79

Primaries to Watch:

Assembly District 9: Incumbent Representative Marisabel Cabrera (D-Milwaukee) is facing a primary challenge from Christian Saldivar (D-Milwaukee). The winner faces Veronica Diaz (R-Milwaukee) in November.

 Assembly District 48: There is a four-person Democratic primary to fill Representative Melissa Sargent’s (D-Madison) seat, which she vacated to run for Senate. The winner faces Samuel Anderson (R-Madison) in November.

Assembly District 60: Incumbent Representative Rob Brooks (R-Saukville) faces a primary challenge by Chris Reimer (R-Cedarburg). The primary decides this race.

Assembly District 76: There is a seven-person Democratic primary to fill Representative Chris Taylor’s (D-Madison) vacant seat. The winner of the primary faces Patrick Hull (R-Madison) in November.

Assembly District 78: Incumbent Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) faces a primary challenge from Rob Slamka (D-Madison). The primary decides this race.

Assembly District 80: Incumbent Representative Sondy Pope (D-Mount Horeb) faces a primary challenge from Kimberly Smith (D-Oregon). The winner faces Chase Binnie (R-Mount Horeb) in November.

Assembly District 82: Incumbent Representative Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin) faces a primary challenge from Theodore D. Kafkas (R-Franklin). The winner faces the winner of the Democratic primary in November.

Assembly District 89: Incumbent Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) faces a primary challenge from Andi Rich (R-Marinette). The winner faces Karl Jaeger (D-Marinette) in November.

Assembly District 90: Incumbent Representative Staush Gruszynski (D-Green Bay) faces a primary challenge from Kristina Shelton (D-Green Bay).  The winner faces Drew Kirsteatter (R-Green Bay) in November.

 Assembly District 98: Incumbent Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) faces a primary challenge by Rob Ochoa (R-Pewaukee). The primary decides this race.




Monday, July 6, 2020

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Identifies Broadband Access as #2 Priority for Reopening State

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was required by the Legislature to submit a report on the major industries impacted by COVID-19. WEDC officially released the report last week, which lists the need to "fix broadband" as the #2 priority area as Wisconsin works to re-open.

"Just last week, recommendations from the Department of Public Instruction for reopening include access to broadband and digital technology," writes WEDC. "This demonstrates, as with the shift to remote working, the desperate and immediate need to provide accessible, affordable and quality broadband throughout Wisconsin. This, therefore, becomes second of the priorities for recovery."

The report also includes a description of the challenges faced by the Education sector on page 38 of the PDF, including K-12 schools and higher education. Interestingly, the report highlights the online learning start-up Fiveable.

The full "fix broadband" plan can be found starting on page 142 of the PDF. "The state will need to take a holistic view towards planning with the goal to connect every Wisconsin citizen to adequate, reliable, equitable and affordable broadband service," writes WEDC. In addition to broadband access, WEDC  cites the need to consider access to technology and devices. Overall, their recommendations are to:
  •  Focus on school districts where children do not have access – over 45,000 lack a means by which to access online learning and access is useless without a device.. 
  • Continue and increase funding for the Wisconsin Broadband Office and the Broadband Expansion Grant Program
  • State Agency Broadband Working Group – use key broadband liaisons from each state agency to align with and coordinate efforts with the Wisconsin Broadband Office in a strategic hub and spoke organization effort
  • The WI Broadband Playbook – this is a local community broadband expansion planning resource. This will give any community the play-by-play of how to pursue broadband, funding resources, potential partners, and how to overcome other barriers. 
  •  State Digital Equity Plan – the PSC is developing a state-wide plan to increase internet adoption, digital literacy skills and affordable internet access programs throughout the state.