Pamela R. Clinkenbeard,
Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, UW-Whitewater
Many of us are diligently trying to keep track of the changing landscape regarding voting procedures for the Nov. 3 election. Absentee voting, early in-person voting, and voting at your local polling place on Nov. 3 are all possibilities. The purpose of this short article is twofold: (1) to share two official websites that you can use to double-check the process in your own area and (if you vote absentee) to track the progress of your ballot; and (2) to draw attention to “down-ballot” races, including local school referenda. (See the My Vote Wisconsin link https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/ for details of what’s actually on your own ballot.)
What does this have to do with gifted education, you might ask? At least three connections come to mind. Local school referenda can have a direct impact on funding for advanced learners. If there is more funding available in general, then support services for gifted and talented students are less likely to be seen as a “frill.” Paying attention to congressional races reminds us to communicate with our U.S. representatives. Several of Wisconsin’s congresspersons have been very supportive of gifted education at the federal level, and your WATG board and government action committee members have worked hard to keep up communication with them, but it can help enormously if actual constituents contact their own congressperson requesting attention to advanced learners. Finally, state Senate and Assembly races are critical because so much that affects the day-to-day life of schools, students, and teachers comes down to decisions made by the state legislature, especially in this extra-challenging environment. Do you know how your own state legislators feel about gifted education? Do they serve on any education-related committees or on the Joint Finance Committee that largely determines public school funding?
What’s On My Ballot
My own ballot, in addition to the five choices for president/vice-president (plus write-in) that all Wisconsin voters will have, includes races (some uncontested) for my U.S. Congressperson, my state Senator and state Assembly representative, and a number of county offices (District Attorney, Clerk, Treasurer, Register of Deeds). It also contains two funding referenda for my local school district -- one to exceed revenue limits and one to issue bonds for building construction and facility upgrades.
https://elections.wi.gov/ - Wisconsin Elections Commission
General information including deadlines for registration and absentee voting, articles on voting accessibility and security, and results from past elections. Note: given recent news about the U.S. Post Office, many sources suggest that published deadlines are too optimistic, and that earlier is better if you intend to mail in an absentee ballot.
https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/ - My Vote Wisconsin
This is a personalized site where you can see if you're registered, request an absentee ballot (or see if you've already requested one), see what actually appears on your ballot, etc. You can even track the progress of your absentee ballot after you mail it or turn it in at your municipal clerk’s office. (You can also find your municipal clerk.)
As we approach the election, I urge you to vote and make your voice count.
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