Election Day was Tuesday, and residents in the Viroqua Area School District defeated a $36.8 million bond referendum that would have funded a range of renovations and new construction at all three district schools.
The vote was 2,950 “no” to 939 “yes.” In the city of Viroqua, there were 610 “yes” votes and 1,540 “no” for a total of 2,150; in the town of Coon, there was one “yes” vote and 5 “no” votes for a total of six; in the town of Franklin, there were 55 “yes” votes and 432 “no” votes for a total of 487; in the town of Freeman, there were zero “yes” votes and one “no” vote for a total of one; in the town of Genoa, there were eight “yes” votes and 16 “no” votes for a total of 24; in the town of Hamburg, there were five “yes” votes and nine “no” votes for a total of 14; in the town of Harmony, there were 58 “yes” votes and 217 “no” votes for a total of 275; in the town of Jefferson, there were 104 “yes” votes and 416 “no” votes for a total of 520; in the town of Kickapoo, there were two “yes” votes and four “no” votes for a total of six; in the town of Liberty, there were nine “yes” votes and 35 “no” votes for a total of 44; in the town of Sterling, there were 21 “yes” votes and 104 “no” votes for a total of 125; in the town of Viroqua, there were 55 “yes” votes and 151 “no” votes for a total of 206 votes; in the town of Webster, there were 11 “yes” votes and 20 “no” votes for a total of 31.
VAS District Administrator Dr. Kehl Arnson said he and the School Board were happy to have a high voter turnout.
“The Board had hoped to get a good turnout and good feedback from the community as a whole. We hoped to hear the voices of the community,” Arnson said. “We’ll keep working with the community. The awareness is great.”
Arnson said the School Board is planning to hold meetings in December to find priorities “that better match the community’s vision. We have to see eye-to-eye. We want them to approve whatever the plan may be. We are disappointed and we’ll keep working on a plan that works. We want to align with the community’s vision.”
Arnson said there may be an option for voters in April 2019.
The school district will canvass the referendum election ballots at the district office, Monday, Nov. 12, at 10 a.m.
Oldenburg defeats Buhr
In the race for the 96th Assembly District, Republican Loren Oldenburg received 12,316 votes to Democrat Paul Buhr’s 11,545. Oldenburg fills the position of Lee Nerison, who is retiring.
In Vernon County, Oldenburg netted a total of 6,231 votes to Buhr’s 6,539.
Countywide advisory referendum
A countywide advisory “Dark Stores” referendum was on the ballot Nov. 6. The referendum passed, 8,366 to 4,038.
The question was as follows: “Question: Should the state legislature enact proposed legislation that closes the Dark Store loopholes, which currently allow commercial retail properties to significantly reduce the assessed valuation and property tax of such properties, resulting in a substantial shift in taxes levied against other tax paying entities, such as residential home owners, and/or cuts in essential services provided by an affected municipality?” The Vernon County Board voted at a meeting July 24 to hold the advisory referendum with fall general election.
“We the People” amendment
Voters in the village of Readstown and the town of Kickapoo were among Wisconsin residents in nine communities who voted on whether to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that only humans should have constitutional rights and that money is not the same as speech and political spending can be limited to allow all Americans to participate in the democratic process.
The vote passed, 327 to 48. In the town of Kickapoo, there were 203 “yes” votes and 36 “no” votes. In the village of Readstown, there were 124 “yes” votes and 12 “no” votes.
In the governor/lieutenant governor race, Democrats Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes received 6,552 votes in Vernon County to Republican incumbents Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch.
In the attorney general race, Democrat Josh Kaul received 6,449 votes in Vernon County, while Republican incumbent Brad Schimel received 6,100.
In the secretary of state race, Democratic incumbent Doug La Follette netted 6,897 votes in Vernon County to Republican Jay Schroeder’s 5,891.
In the race for state treasurer, county residents cast 6,551 ballots for Democrat Sarah Godlewski and 5,892 for Republican Travis Hartwig.
In the United States Senate race, Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin received 7,494 votes in Vernon County, while Republican Leah Vukmir received 5,459.
In the Wisconsin 3rd Congressional District, county voters cast 8,008 ballots for Democratic incumbent Ron Kind and 4,916 for Steve Toft.
At the county level, Republicans Sheriff John Spears, Coroner Betty Nigh and Clerk of Court Sheila Olson ran on the ballot unopposed.
County Clerk Ron Hoff said election night went well. “There were no major problems, and that’s good. I am proud of the municipal clerks; they are dedicated.”
Hoff said approximately 78 percent of registered voters in the county cast ballots.
The Vernon County Board of Election Canvass will meet in Room 309 of the Courthouse Annex in Viroqua, Thursday, Nov. 8, at 9:30 a.m. to conduct the official canvass of the general election results.
Complete Vernon County election results can be found on the Vernon County website.