The state-wide partisan primary is coming up on Tuesday, August 14 to determine who will be on the ballot in the November 6 general election. This year, there are multiple competitive races. State and national offices up for election are: Governor, Lt. Governor, WI Attorney General, WI Secretary of State, WI State Treasurer, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, odd-numbered Wisconsin State Senate and all Assembly seats. The polls will be open from 7:00 am – 8:00 pm, but anyone can vote early starting July 30.
Wisconsin Primary Elections are “Open Primaries”
When districts have more than one candidate from the same party running for a seat, a partisan primary election is held to nominate a single candidate to move onto the general election. The person who wins a plurality of votes, meaning the highest number, is their party’s nominee to go onto the general election.
The state of Wisconsin has what is called an “open primary” for partisan elections. When voters go to the polls they will receive one ballot that lists all parties’ candidates. Since 1905, voters have been restricted to vote for their top choice candidates from a single party across all races. Wisconsin’s system is called an “open primary” because voters can vote for a party’s candidates without having registered as a member of a party. 14 other states including Minnesota use this system. Other states use either a closed primary where voters must register as identifying with a particular party, or use a variation of the two systems.
Election Day, Tuesday, August 14
Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Click here to find your polling place
Early and Absentee Voting
If you are unable to make it to make it to the polls or want to vote early, you can either request an absentee ballot or vote In-Person Absentee.
For City of Eau Claire residents, In-Person Absentee Voting lasts from July 30th – August 10th, 2018 on Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm at City Hall. For registered voters who want to receive an absentee ballot, you must request one with the city clerk’s office by 5:00 pm the Thursday before the election (August 9th). For voter registration or absentee voting forms, visit the City of Eau Claire’s election page.
For City of Altoona residents: In-person absentee voting can be done at the Altoona City Hall, 1303 Lynn Ave., weekdays through August 9, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on August 10, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you live elsewhere in Eau Claire County: click here for contact information for the elections office in your municipality. You can also request a ballot and see your polling place or what’s on the ballot at My Vote Wisconsin.
Races to Keep an Eye On
This year’s primary election has a lot of candidates vying for one seat. Although there are competitive Republican seats, there are by far more Democratic candidates in each competitive race. There are eight Democratic candidates running for Governor including Kathleen Vinehout of Alma, who gave up her seat in the 31st Senate District to run, Tony Evers who is currently the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, former State Representative Kelda Roys, and Firefighters Union President Mahlon Mitchell. Republican Governor Scott Walker is running for reelection and has one relatively unknown primary opponent, Robert Meyer. Other state offices with primary contests include Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and US Senate. In the latter race, Republicans Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir are vying for the right to face incumbent Democratic US Senator Tammy Baldwin.
Competitive local legislative seats and Chamber Good Government Council Questionnaires
More locally, the 31st Senate District has three Democratic candidates and one Republican (Mel Pittman, Plum City) running. The Democratic candidates are Jon Schultz (Arcadia), Jeff Smith (Eau Claire), and Steve Boe (Taylor).
Here are the candidates' answers to the Chamber's questionnaire:
31st Senate District
91st Assembly District
92nd Assembly District
- Watch the Democratic candidate debates for Governor: Today's TMJ4 & Milwaukee Host Democratic Gubernatorial Debate (July 12), WISDOM Gubernatorial Candidate Forum (June 11)
- Watch the Americans for Prosperity - Wis: WI GOP U.S. Senate Primary Debate (April)
- See your polling place and candidates on the ballot: My Vote Wisconsin
- After the election, you can view the results here.
Posted by: Kaylee Tracy, Legislative & Workforce Development Intern