Milwaukee – The wheels of democracy ran smoothly on November 3rd, with results from Milwaukee’s Central Count reported earlier than expected despite a huge increase in absentee ballots. While we await results of the orderly process of tallying and confirming votes, this is a good time to celebrate the high Wisconsin voter turnout, which looks to be close to three-quarters of the voting age population, a turnout boosted by the efforts of many community and civic organizations, businesses, and individuals. Praise is also due to the dedicated election workers, a massive deployment of citizens who stepped up to do this important work during a pandemic, and to the volunteers who helped at the polls or observed the process.

The League of Women Voters is especially pleased to see that Fair Maps referenda to ban gerrymandering passed in all 14 communities where it was on the ballot, continuing a trend that shows voters across the political spectrum favor an independent, transparent method to draw fair voting district maps.

It’s also a good time to note that democracy doesn’t happen once every four years. We say “Your vote is your voice” — on election day. You still have a voice between elections. It’s important for citizens to remain engaged with elected officials, who make policies, set priorities and spend your tax dollars. Oversight by an informed citizenry is critical to better functioning government. If your favored candidates won, keep in touch and hold them accountable. If your favored candidates lost, keep in touch with elected officials, who are hired to represent all constituents.

Consider joining advocacy groups for the issues most important to you. If you know people in a huge voting bloc — the “no shows” — encourage them to register to vote, talk about issues important to them, do a little research, and be prepared to vote in the next elections: Feb 16, 2021 and April 6, 2021.

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