A turnout of 20 to 25 percent is anticipated in Tomah for Tuesday’s partisan primary election.
City of Tomah clerk Jo Cram said she initially expected a higher turnout due to a contested sheriff’s race but said the rate of early absentee ballots points to a turnout of a quarter of the city’s voters. That’s similar to the 26 percent that turned out for a contested sheriff’s primary in 2014.
City of Tomah voters can cast ballots between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the city fire station next to city hall.
Cram said 150 early absentee ballots had been submitted as of 11 a.m. Friday. The deadline for early absentees was Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Cram said the pace of early absentees increased during the past week.
“The last few days have been the busiest,” she said.
Both political parties have high-profile races on the ballot, and Cram reminded voters that they can vote in only one party primary. Voters, for example, aren’t allowed to vote in the Democratic primary for governor and Republican primary for sheriff.
“This is a partisan primary; there’s no crossing over,” Cram said. “You have to pick a party and stay within that party.”
Voters have the option of marking a ballot preference at the top of the ballot. If a voter doesn’t indicate a party preference and votes in both primaries, the entire ballot is discarded.
“If they don’t select a party and they crossover, the ballot gets kicked out,” Cram said.
She said the typical discard rate in the primary is under one percent.
The contest for sheriff is in the Republican primary, where Rick Dickenson, Jeremy Likely, Wes Revels and Ron Waddell are on the ballot. The winner advances to the Nov. 6 general election to face Jeff Schwanz, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Incumbent Republican Scott Perkins isn’t seeking a second four-year term.
Republicans can also vote in a five-way U.S. Senate primary. Polls show a tight race between the top two contenders, former Marine Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir.
Democrats features a crowded race for the gubernatorial nomination, and two candidates have local ties. State Superintendent Tony Evers is a former principal at Tomah’s Miller Elementary School, and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout represented the city of Tomah for four years before redistricting after the 2010 election shifted her district further north. Polls show Evers with a substantial lead in the race to face likely Republican nominee, incumbent Scott Walker, who’s expected to defeat token opposition.
Both parties have contested primaries for state treasurer and secretary of state. Democrats have a contested primary for lieutenant governor.
Another Democratic primary is in the 96th Assembly District, where Democrats Paul Buhr and Alicia Leinberger are the candidates. The winner faces Loren Oldenberg, who is running unopposed in the Republican primary. Incumbent Republican Lee Nerison isn’t seeking re-election after six terms.
The 96th district includes the towns of Angelo, Adrian, Tomah, Leon, Wells, Ridgeville, Wilton, Portland, Jefferson, Sheldon and Wellington and villages of Norwalk, Wilton, Melvina and Cashton in Monroe County.
In the 7th Congressional District, there is a Democratic primary between Margaret Engebretson and Brian Ewert. The winner faces four-term incumbent Republican Sean Duffy.
The 7th District includes the towns of LaGrange, Lincoln, Scott and Byron and villages of Wyeville and Warrens in Monroe County and the towns of Knapp, Bear Bluff and City Point in Jackson County.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.