By O. Ricardo Pimentel
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit milwaukeenns.org.
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 in particular drawing national attention.
But voters will also determine which two candidates will advance to the November election to succeed Mayor Cavalier Johnson in Aldermanic District 2. This is a nonpartisan race.
And because no Republicans have filed to run for Milwaukee County sheriff, voters will choose among three candidates for that office.
Also on the ballot for local office: who will be the next Clerk of Circuit Court for Milwaukee County.
The last day to register to vote by mail and online is Wednesday, July 20.
The governor’s race and the U.S. Senate race have the highest profiles on the airwaves so far. Democrats have viewed GOP incumbent Ron Johnson as vulnerable and key to growing Democratic numbers in the Senate. Retired educator David Schroeder is also on the GOP ballot.
U.S. Senate race
Voters in the Democratic primary will choose who will challenge Johnson in the general election. The candidates are Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes; Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks; Kou Lee, a restaurant owner; Sarah Godlewski, state treasurer; Peter Peckarsky, an attorney; Steven Olikara, entrepreneur and founder and former chief executive of the Millennial Action Project; Darrell Williams, administrator of the Division of Emergency Management in the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs (on leave); and Tom Nelson, Outagamie County Executive.
The general election will be Nov. 8.
Race for governor
The governor’s race features incumbent Tony Evers on the Democratic side. Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch; construction business co-owner Tim Michels; State Rep. 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 incumbent on the ballot in the congressional race is Democrat Gwen Moore. Tim Rogers and Travis Clark are the Republicans on the ballot for their party primary.
In Assembly District 16, Democratic incumbent 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 November ballot.)
Ballard is a Milwaukee native and former television journalist. He is a Riverside University High School and Columbia College Chicago graduate. He was the communications and marketing officer for the Milwaukee Police Department and is currently communications director for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. He founded the Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation. Ballard did not respond to requests for an interview.
Chambers is also a Milwaukee native, growing 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 sector and is now a business consultant for Community Related Training in Milwaukee.
Chambers said the most important issues for the city are gun violence and reckless driving.
“We’re in a crisis,” he said. “What separates me from the others is that I’ve lived through it personally.”
He said he lost his father to gun violence and a friend to reckless driving, adding that holding people with guns accountable will be key in addressing gun violence.
Morries was born and raised in the 53212 ZIP code, which includes the Harambee neighborhood. She has 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, having served 28 years, and now owns real estate companies.
Morries said the city’s most important issue is public safety.
“We have to first go to the core problem – working together with the police department to come up with those strategies,” she said. “They have things in place and we just need 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 district.
The Democratic candidates for county sheriff are Denita Ball, Brian Barkow and Thomas Beal. No Republican has filed for the office, which means the primary could effectively decide the next sheriff.
All the candidates work in the Sheriff’s Department: Ball as chief deputy; Barkow as inspector and commander of the Investigative Services Bureau; and Beal is a sheriff’s captain.
Clerk of Circuit Court
The race for the Clerk of Circuit Court pits current Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson, the incumbent because he was previously appointed as interim clerk of the court, against Anna Maria Hodges, the retired chief deputy clerk of the Circuit Court.
Steps to vote
To vote, you must register.
The City of Milwaukee has four ways you can complete or update your registration – by mail, online, at any Milwaukee Public Library or at your voting site on Election Day.
If you are uncertain of your registration status, name or address, you can go to My Vote Wisconsin to look up your record.
Milwaukee residents can register by mail by downloading and printing the voter registration application found here.
You may then mail the application along with a copy of your proof of residence to:
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
200 East Wells, Room 501
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Registrations by mail must be postmarked by Wednesday, July 20. If you miss the deadline, you can register to vote through the Friday of early voting or at your polling place on Election Day. Early voting will occur July 26 to Aug. 6.
For a list of what constitutes proof of residence, go here.
You can register online if you have a Wisconsin driver’s license or state identification card. Your address must be updated with the Division of Motor Vehicles. You can update your address free with the DMV here. If there is a name change, you must do that in person at a DMV office.
Once your address and name are updated, go to MyVote to update your voter registration.
The Milwaukee Public Library sites to register in person are here.
To find your polling place to register on the day of the election, 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 injected a wrinkle into this election with a ruling July 8 that prohibits the use of unstaffed drop boxes and restricting absentee voters from using others to deliver their ballots.
The ruling was decried by advocates for people with disabilities. In particular, the advocates are concerned about voters who don’t have the use of their arms and legs. They can have difficulty personally delivering ballots.
On Thursday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator, Meagan Wolfe, said voters have to place their own absentee ballots in the mail after the commission itself split on what advice to give the state’s election clerks following the Supreme Court ruling.
But Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, said voters with disabilities are protected by federal law.
Though the City Attorney’s Office is still researching the ruling, Woodall-Vogg’s advice at the moment for voters with disabilities is that they can still have someone assist them in delivering their absentee ballots to mailboxes.
Unstaffed drop boxes will not be used in the Aug. 9 election, but voters can return their absentee ballots by mail, which must be received by Election Day. Moreover, absentee ballots can be delivered in person at early voting sites, which will be operating July 26 to Aug. 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 Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway. The drop-off hours are weekdays, 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 to the elections office in City Hall and staff will also be on hand to collect ballots on Market Street near City Hall.
Woodall-Vogg cautioned absentee voters to work ahead because mail can take two or three days to be delivered or up to a week in some cases.
For instructions on absentee voting in the city, go here.
Generally, the instructions caution that absentee voters should line up their witness before beginning the form and mark, seal, sign and return the ballot by Election Day.
(An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the middle name of Anna Maria Hodges and her position. She is the retired chief deputy clerk of the Circuit Court).
Photo cap The fall primary election falls on Aug. 9 for Milwaukee. (NNS file photo by Andrea Waxman)