April 7 is set for the Wisconsin spring election. There will be several local elections along with statewide ballot measures and the presidential primary race.
Election officials with the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) are encouraging voters to decide to vote via absentee ballots as fear of COVID-19 spreading continues throughout the state and nation.
All 21 District Supervisors who serve on the Burnett County Board of Supervisors are up for election this year. 20 of the 21 Supervisors are running unopposed.
In District 4, which covers all of the Town of Anderson, the northwest corner of Trade Lake and the southern half of the Town of Grantsburg, there is a race between incumbent Jeremy Gronski and challenger Ramona Moody.
Gronski has served on the County Board for a number of years and also serves as Town Chair for the Town of Anderson.
Chuck Awe who represented District 8 for a number of years, did not run for re-election in 2018 but is not back seeking his seat and is running unopposed. Ed Fisher ran as a write-in candidate two years ago and won the seat, however he is not seeking re-election.
Sid Sherstad, who was appointed by County Chair Don Taylor after Supervisor Chuck Anderson resigned his seat last year, will not be seeking re-election in District 15. James Pearson is running unopposed for the seat in District 15.
The remaining 18 Supervisors are slated to keep their seats in uncontested races.
In the Village of Grantsburg there are three open seats up for election. Incumbents Caylin Muehlberg and Greg Peer are seeking re-election for their trustee seats. Julie Roberts is not running for re-election.
Leo Janke and write-in candidate Kayla Woody are running and hoping to gain a seat on the village board.
In Siren there are three incumbents, Dave Doty, Rudy Mothes and Jim Pearson, seeking re-election with no challengers. Village President Dave Alden nominated a challenger for a board seat, however that candidate never submitted official paperwork to be on the ballot.
Two incumbents and one challenger are seeking three seats in the Village of Webster. Incumbents Kelsey Gustafson and Greg Widiker are hoping to be re-elected to their seats. Village Trustee Sarah Casady is not seeking re-election. Bill Summer is the only challenger in the race.
Then as we move down the ballot to school board members, there are two seats up for election. Incumbent Jason Burkman is running for re-election and Brian Handy is hoping to win the second seat.
Board member Heather Jensen is not seeking re-election on the Grantsburg School Board.
There are two seats up for election on the April ballot. Incumbent Mark Pettis is seeking re-election. Board President Peggy Moore is not seeking re-election. Challengers include James Kopecky and Jamie Thompson are running. Kopecky previously served on the school board until losing his re-election bid in 2018.
There is also a Siren school referendum regarding operating expenses.
“Shall the School District of Siren, Burnett County, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $300,000 per year for three years beginning with the 2020-2021 school year and ending with the 2022-2023 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of operating and maintaining buildings and facilities, sustaining current programs and services, and other ongoing operational expenses?”
Siren Superintendent Kevin Shetler said in a presentation that the referendum is so the school has enough money over the next three years to maintain the students’ experiences.
In Webster, incumbents Bob Carlson and Terry Larson are running for re-election on the school board.
Residents in the Webster School District will also have to vote on the proposed $6.5 million referendum.
The District paid off their debt from the last referendum in 2000 to build a new middle/high school. The new debt payment will be the same amount as the previous debt.
“That’s why this referendum will not impact the taxy levy,” according to the school board.
State supreme court
The race for Justice for the Wisconsin Supreme Court comes down to Daniel Kelly and Jill Karofsky. The winner will serve a ten-year term on the state’s highest court.
Karofsky is Dane County Circuit Court judge and has been endorsed by prominent liberal groups.
"My judicial philosophy is that every single person in my courtroom should be treated with dignity and respect and fairness, that the rule of law has to be followed in every case, whether or not I personally agree with that,” Karofsky explained in an interview with Milwaukee public radio station WUWM.
Incumbent Daniel Kelly was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2016 by former Gov. Scott Walker. Kelly has been endorsed by a number of conservative groups.
“I think it’s critical that we have jurists on the Supreme Court who are committed to applying the law as it exists, not the law as we might wish it to be, but as it’s actually created and maintained by the people of Wisconsin and their legislators,” Kelly told WUWM.
There is a second statewide race on the April ballot which could give crime victims more rights.
The statewide questions states, “Additional rights of crime victims. Shall section 9m of article I of the constitution, which gives certain rights to crime victims, be amended to give crime victims additional rights, to require that the rights of crime victims be protected with equal force to the protections afforded the accused while leaving the federal constitutional rights of the accused intact, and to allow crime victims to enforce their rights in court?”
The amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution is based on Marsy’s Law, a type of constitutional bill of rights for crime victims, with 14 proposed rights. Some of were granted to crime victims in 2019.
After a crowded field of presidential candidates lined up with the Democratic party, the field has whittled down from over 20 to three.
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are the final two in the Democratic Primary.
President Donald Trump will be the only candidate listed on the ballot on the Republican side.
For more information on polling places, how to obtain an absentee ballot can be found at myvote.wi.gov.