Election Day

It’s election day here in Wisconsin. On the ballot is the Wisconsin Supreme Court and nonpartisan municipal races.

One of the unfortunate paradoxes of American politics is that, although much of what affects our day-to-day lives happens at the local level, our country disproportionately focuses on national politics. The “salience” of national political questions often overshadows local activism.

As evidence, in February 2016, only 928 citizens in my city district showed up at the polls. Two months later, in April 2016, when the presidential race was on the ballot, 2965 citizens showed up. The turnout was 3 times larger. Here are some of the elections we’ve had in my home district:

Plot of recent Fitchburg District 4 elections

Local elections often get overlooked.

Today, though, my brother-in-law is running for one of those local elections. And I am so proud of the work he put in this cycle. He knocked on hundreds of doors, participated in debates, engaged prospective voters, and learned about the issues.

One of his goals for the race was to set a good example for his children about the importance of civic engagement. Whatever the results, his campaign can be a lesson for all of us to more fully participate in our democracy. The least we can do is show up and vote.