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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Voters cast their ballot in the 2022 midterm elections on Nov. 8, 2022.

What’s on Wisconsin’s primary election ballot for UW-Madison voters

The primary will occur on Tuesday with voters casting their ballots to support their party’s nominees and to decide two statewide ballot referendums.

Wisconsin voters will cast their ballots Tuesday to signal their support for their parties’ nominees and vote on two statewide ballot referendums.

The polls will be open on April 2 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Here’s what you need to know about the races on your ballot.

Democratic, Republican presidential primaries

The ballots include a Democratic and Republican section for presidential candidates. 

The Democratic candidates include current frontrunner and incumbent President Joe Biden and Minnesota congressional Rep. Dean Phillips, with options to vote for an “Uninstructed Delegation” or a write-in. 

Biden is all but guaranteed to win the Democratic nomination after already having won enough delegates, and Phillips dropped out of the race in early March.

On the Republican side, current frontrunner and former President Donald Trump is virtually guaranteed to face Biden in the general election after securing a majority of delegates in March. 

Four other GOP candidates who challenged Trump but later dropped out — former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chirs Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramasway — will also appear on Tuesday’s ballot. 

Republican voters will also have the option to vote for an “Uninstructed Delegation” or a write-in. 

What does it mean to vote for an uninstructed delegation?

Voting in a presidential primary sends delegates in support of a candidate to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee and the Democratic National Convention in Chicago over the summer.

An uninstructed delegation vote would send a delegate that is not in support of a certain candidate. Some states have options of “uncommitted” or “no preference,” while some states do not offer an option at all. These types of delegates in Wisconsin require at least 15% of a statewide vote. 

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Some voters plan to cast uninstructed votes in protest of Biden's management of the Israel-Hamas war, saying they hope to amplify their disapproval of Biden’s stance on the conflict. 

Referendum questions on election grants, election officials

In addition to the general election and presidential primary preference, there will be two referendum questions on Wisconsin ballots statewide. 

QUESTION #1: “Use of private funds in election administration. Shall grant section 7 (1) of article III of the constitution be created to provide that private donations and grants may not be applied for, accepted, expended, or used in connection with the conduct of any primary, election, or referendum?”

This referendum is Republican-led and would prohibit any level of state government in the state from applying or accepting non-governmental funds or equipment for election administration. 

The question follows Republicans’ opposition to private grants funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ahead of the 2020 election. The majority of grant money went to Wisconsin’s five largest cities, and clerks said the grants helped cover unexpected costs while running elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A “yes” vote would ban private grants and donations in election administrations, while a “no” vote would continue to allow them. 

QUESTION #2: “Election officials. Shall section 7 (2) of article III of the constitution be created to provide that only election officials designated by law may perform tasks in the conduct of primaries, elections, and referendums?” 

Introduced as a Senate Joint Resolution in 2022, this referendum would add a new section to the state constitution dictating that no one other than an election official designated by law may help conduct elections in the state. 

Under current Wisconsin law, election officials must be a “qualified elector of a county in which the municipality where the official serves is located.” Each election official must be able to prove they can read and write in English and have a general knowledge of Wisconsin’s election laws.

Sen. Eric Wimberger, R-Green Bay, and Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, alongside other conservative organizations, including Election Integrity for Wisconsin, law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Wisconsin Voter Alliance support the referendums. 

American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin (ACLU), Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and All Voting is Local Action Wisconsin oppose these referendums.

Multiple city clerks told Wisconsin Watch late last month that the referendum questions are too vague and could add uncertainty to Wisconsin’s election process ahead of a heated 2024 presidential election.

If these referendums receive “yes” votes, they would go into effect as soon as the results are certified, affecting the August primary and November general election. 

Dane County Board of Supervisor races

Of the five Dane County Board of Supervisors districts near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, four races — Districts 1, 5, 7 and 23 — are uncontested. 

District 13, which encompasses all of campus south of University Avenue and student neighborhoods just north of Regent Street, is a contested race between incumbent Jay Brower and challenger Travis Austin. 

Brower was appointed to the post in September by Dane County Board Chair Patrick Miles and has served on the County Board’s Health and Human Needs standing committee since taking office. 

Austin is a recent UW-Madison graduate who unsuccessfully challenged Brower for the appointment last fall.

Elizabeth Doyle, Henry Fries, Cecely Castillo and Chiuck Erickson are the uncontested candidates for Districts 1, 5, 7 and 23, respectively.

Dane County Circuit Court, school board races

Additional questions specific to Dane County will also be asked, with each only having one candidate and a write-in section. Candidates are not affiliated with a political party.

  • Court Of Appeals Judge District 4: JoAnne Kloppenburg
  • Dane County Circuit Court Judge Branch 1: Susan M. Crawford
  • Dane County Circuit Court Judge Branch 8: Frank D. Remington
  • Dane County Circuit Court Judge Branch 10: Ryan D. Nilsestuen
  • Dane County Circuit Court Judge Branch 11: Ellen K. Berz 
  • Dane County Circuit Court Judge Branch 12: Ann Peacock 
  • Madison Metropolitan School District School Board Member - Seat 1: Maia Pearson (I)
  • Madison Metropolitan School District School Board Member - Seat 2: Savion Castro (I)

All voters must bring acceptable photo IDs, including:

  • Wisconsin driver's license
  • WI DOT-issued photo ID card
  • U.S. passport 
  • Military ID card
  • Certificate of naturalization issued within the past two years
  • Unexpired Wisconsin driver's license or state ID receipt
  • ID card issued by a Native American Tribe, regardless of expiration
  • ID issued by a Wisconsin accredited university or college which must contain issuance date, student signature and expiration date within 2 years of issuance. If the ID is expired, proof of current enrollment is also required.
  • Unexpired Veterans Affairs ID card

Wiscards are not acceptable photo IDs.

Sample Wisconsin ballots can be found at myvote.wi.gov

Resources for voting at UW-Madison are available at vote.wisc.edu.

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