By Cassandra Lans
Voter turnout was a major disappointment in Tuesday’s primary election in Milwaukee. Several factors contributed to this lackluster turnout, one being the change in the month for this primary that is normally held in September. The primary had to be moved to keep the state compliant with the upcoming November elections. The second factor is that voters may have been a little burnt out, due to the recall election and months of preparation to oust Governor Scott Walker, which was not successful.
Whatever the reasons, Tuesday’s primary was full of flaws, low turnout, confusing ballots and even more confusion on where to go to vote. Some individuals living directly across the street from certain polling places were sent miles away to vote. The ballot itself had a reverse side that many were confused by or not aware of. The bottom line is that if these factors do not change before the November elections, then African Americans will miss the opportunity to play a role in helping President Obama obtain a second term.
Coming out of Tuesday’s primary with victories were: Milwaukee County Supervisor Nikiya Harris won the 6th State Senate filling the seat that Spencer Coggs is leaving, Mandela Barnes won the 11th State Assembly District seat defeating incumbent Jason Fields, Evan Goyke won the 18th State Assembly District seat being vacated by Tamara Grisby, La Tonya Johnson won the 17th District seat vacated by Barbara Toles and Sandy Pasch won the 10th District seat in a very heated contest, community organizer Millie Coby was her closest competitor, and gave an extraordinary run against a seasoned legislator.
Alderwoman Milele Coggs asked one of the most profound questions of the candidates running for all of these offices at the last Community Brainstorming Meeting. Her question was this; “Only one of you can win in each of your races. So, what will you commit to doing if you do not win?”
This is the question that the community will look for these individuals to answer. Will they disappear or continue community work and involvement? And the newcomers to office will face the same scrutiny. Jason Fields warned those running that it was great to have all the great ideas and aspirations to do a better job than the person who held the position before you, but it is not that easy when you are actually in the position. Again, the bars have been set, and the community will look to these elected officials to deliver.