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Voting puts the power in your hands


Democracy only works if people show up.

In big-budget action movies, the bad guys seeking to undermine American way of life, might be over-the-top evil villains, alien invaders or cliched stereotypes of the enemy du jour. In real life, the forces that undermine democracy and with it the American way of life, are more subtle, if not equally as sinister as anything Hollywood can dream up.

The true enemy of American democracy, is apathy and the belief that one person’s vote is inconsequential. The only way to combat that enemy and fight for American freedoms, is to vote.

Voters across the state, will head to the polls Feb. 18, for the first of four elections to be held this year.

The headline race in this election will be to narrow the field of candidates running to fill the vacant 7th Congressional District seat previously held by Sean Duffy. While the seat had been held in Republican hands in recent years, for decades before that, the region elected Democrat Dave Obey by large margins.

Tuesday’s election will set the stage for which candidates will advance to the special election in May. A lopsided win by any candidate, could easily result in a snowballing of support and build momentum for them to sweep into office.

At the state level, Tuesday’s primary will narrow the field of candidates for State Supreme Court, with the two top vote-getters advancing to the April 7 spring election. While ostensibly the state supreme court candidates are non-partisan, party machinery has been in motion on both sides of the political aisle, with clear favorites among Republican and Democrat leadership in the state, as well as from outside special interest groups.

With supreme court justices serving 10-year terms, there is a great deal at stake in which candidate ultimately earns a spot on the bench. While every judicial decision should be made on the merits of the case and the applicable law, weighing and prioritizing those merits, and the intent of the law, are more subjective.

With so much riding on the elections, it is vital that all eligible voters make sure they exercise their rights and vote. The first step in this, is making sure you are properly registered.

Fortunately, in Wisconsin, this is an easy thing to do. You can go on-line to and check your registration status, or update your voting address. Voters can also check with their local clerk or register the day of the election, provided they bring proof of their residency.

Voting is the only way individuals have a chance to help set the course for communities, schools, the state and the nation.

Members of the Courier Sentinel editorial board include publisher Carol O’Leary, general manager Kris O’Leary and Star News editor Brian Wilson.