What you need to know about the August 9 primary election in Milwaukee

The fall primary election falls on August 9 for Milwaukee. (NNS file photo by Andrea Waxman)

Residents will help choose their party’s nominees for such high-profile races as governor and the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Aug. 9, with the Senate race drawing particular national attention.

But voters will also determine which two candidates will run in the November election to succeed Mayor Cavalier Johnson in Aldermanic District 2. This is a nonpartisan race.

And because no Republican has filed for sheriff of Milwaukee County, voters will choose from three candidates for the office.

Also on the ballot for local office: who will be the next Milwaukee County Circuit Court Clerk.

The last day to register to vote by mail and online is Wednesday, July 20.

The race for governor and the race for the US Senate have the highest profiles on the airwaves so far. Democrats viewed GOP incumbent Ron Johnson as vulnerable and essential to growing the number of Democrats in the Senate. Retired educator David Schroeder is also on the GOP ballot.

US Senate race

Voters in the Democratic primary will choose who will challenge Johnson in the general election. The candidates are Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes; Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks; Kou Lee, restaurant owner; Sarah Godlewski, State Treasurer; Peter Peckarsky, a lawyer; Steven Olikara, entrepreneur and founder and former CEO of the Millennial Action Project; Darrell Williams, Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs Division of Emergency Management Administrator (on leave); and Tom Nelson, Outagamie County Executive.

General elections will be held on November 8.

Race for Governor

The gubernatorial race includes incumbent Tony Evers on the Democratic side. former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch; construction company co-owner Tim Michels; State Representative Timothy Ramthun; and real estate business owner Adam Fischer are running for the GOP nomination. Businessman Kevin Nicholson recently dropped out of the race.

In other statewide races, there are primary candidates on the ballot for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and treasurer.

Milwaukee Congressional and Assembly Races

In Milwaukee, there are also candidates on the ballot for Congressional District 4 and for State Assembly District 16.

The ballot holder in the congressional race is Democrat Gwen Moore. Tim Rogers and Travis Clark are the Republicans on the ballot for their party’s primary.

In Assembly District 16, incumbent Democrat Kalan Haywood is on the ballot. No one is on the ballot on the Republican side.

The race to succeed Mayor Johnson

Jerel Ballard, 27; Mark Chambers Jr., 35; and Keyellia “Kiki” Morries, 52, are vying for the District 2 seat formerly held by Mayor Johnson, who was elected in April.

(Another council seat is vacant following the departure of District 3 Ald. Nik Kovac, who was appointed budget director by Johnson. Democratic State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff is the only candidate and he will be on the ballot. of November.)

Ballard is a Milwaukee native and former television journalist. He is a graduate of Riverside University High School and Columbia College in Chicago. He served as communications and marketing manager for the Milwaukee Police Department and is currently communications director for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. He founded Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation. Ballard did not respond to interview requests.

Chambers is also from Milwaukee and grew up in the Westlawn Projects section of District 2. He graduated from Bay View High School and attended Milwaukee Area Technical College. He worked in the financial industry and is now a business consultant for Community Related Training in Milwaukee.

Chambers said the biggest issues for the city are gun violence and reckless driving.

“We are in crisis,” he said. “What differentiates me from others is that I experienced it personally.”

He said he lost his father to gun violence and a friend to reckless driving, adding that holding armed people accountable will be key to tackling gun violence.

Morries was born and raised in the 53212 zip code, which includes the Harambee neighborhood. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Mount Senario College and a master’s degree in management from Cardinal Stritch University. She retired as a detective from the Milwaukee Police Department, after serving 28 years, and now owns real estate companies.

Morries said the city’s biggest issue is public safety.

“We have to get to the heart of the matter first – work with the police department to come up with those strategies,” she said. “They have things in place and we just have to implement them.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, only Chambers currently lives in the district. Ballard and Morries will have to move into the district if elected.

But Morries said she has an apartment, where she gets her mail, and other properties in the neighborhood.

The Sheriff’s Run

The Democratic candidates for county sheriff are Denita Ball, Brian Barkow and Thomas Beal. No Republicans have filed for nomination, meaning the primary could effectively decide the next sheriff.

All of the candidates work in the sheriff’s department: Ball as deputy chief; Barkow as Inspector and Commander of the Bureau of Investigative Services; and Beal is a sheriff’s captain.

Circuit Court Clerk

The race for circuit court clerk pits current Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson, the incumbent because he was previously appointed acting clerk of the court, against Anna Marie Hodges, the chief deputy clerk of the circuit court.

Steps to vote

To vote, you must register.

The City of Milwaukee offers four ways to complete or update your registration — by mail, online, at any Milwaukee Public Library, or at your Election Day voting site.

If you are unsure of your registration status, name or address, you can go to My Vote Wisconsin to view your record.

Milwaukee residents can register by mail by downloading and printing the Voter Registration Form available here.

You can then send the application along with a copy of your proof of residency to:

City of Milwaukee Election Commission
200 East Wells, Room 501
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Mail-in entries must be postmarked by Wednesday July 20. If you miss the deadline, you can register to vote up until Early Voting Friday or at your polling place on Election Day. Early voting will take place from July 26 to August 6.

For a list of what constitutes proof of residency, go here.

You can register online if you have a Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID. Your address must be updated with the Division of Motor Vehicles. You can update your address for free with the DMV here. If there is a name change, you must do it in person at a DMV office.

Once your address and name are updated, go to MyVote to update your voter registration.

Milwaukee Public Library sites to register in person are here.

To find your polling place to register on election day, you can enter your address here.

And to find a complete sample ballot, click here.

What you need to know about drop boxes

The Wisconsin Supreme Court added a wrinkle to this election with a July 8 ruling that bans the use of unmanned drop boxes and prevents absentee voters from using other people to deliver their ballots.

The decision was decried by disability advocates. In particular, advocates are concerned about voters who lack the use of their arms and legs. They may have difficulty personally delivering the ballots.

On Thursday, Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said voters should send in their own mail-in ballots after the commission itself split over advice to give election clerks in the election. state following the Supreme Court’s decision.

But Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the City of Milwaukee Elections Commission, said voters with disabilities are protected under federal law.

Although the city attorney’s office is still investigating the decision, Woodall-Vogg’s advice for voters with disabilities at this time is that they can always ask someone to help them deliver their mail-in ballots in mailboxes.

Unstaffed drop boxes will not be used in the Aug. 9 election, but voters can return their mail-in ballots, which must be received by Election Day. Additionally, mail-in ballots can be delivered in person to early voting sites, which will operate from July 26 through August 6.

These sites are: Midtown Center, 5700 W. Capitol Drive; Good Hope Library, 7717 W. Good Hope Rd.; Zablocki Library, 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave.; and the Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway. Drop-off hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

And on the Monday before the election and on Election Day, voters can drop off their absentee ballots at the Elections Office at City Hall and staff will also be on hand to collect ballots on Market Street, near City Hall.

Woodall-Vogg warned absentee voters to work ahead because mail can take two or three days to deliver or up to a week in some cases.

For instructions on voting by mail in the city, go here.

Generally, the instructions warn that absentee voters must line up their witness before starting the form and mark, seal, sign and return the ballot before Election Day.

About Marc Womack

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