2004 Election

Speak Up, Be Heard and Make an Impact!

 Mike Theo  |    October 05, 2004

Four years ago, after the delay and confusion surrounding the closest presidential election in history, it became clichÉ to say "every vote counts" and "you can make a difference." But you know what? It's true. And if the 2000 presidential election didn't make the point strong enough, we need look no further than the past two state legislative elections right here in Wisconsin to see why each of us should vote in November.


As re-counters and courts were settling the 2000 presidential election, the following took place in the State Assembly races here in Wisconsin:

• In Burnett and Polk counties, Republican challenger Pettis beat incumbent Democrat Duelholm by 452 votes out of 28,160 total votes.

• In the Wood County-Marshfield area, Republican Lippert beat Democrat Vruwink in an open seat contest by 98 votes out of 24,038 votes cast.

• In the Green Bay area, Republican Krawczyk beat Democrat Peggs in an open seat contest by 180 votes out of 21,976 total votes.

• Also in Green Bay, Incumbent Democrat Ryba beat Republican challenger Weycker by just 56 votes out of 23,228 votes cast.

And the pattern continued in the last legislative election in 2002. Look at the following State Senate outcomes:

• In the Western Wisconsin-Eau Claire area, Republican challenger Ron Brown beat incumbent Democratic Senator Rod Moen by 539 votes out of 54,217 total votes.

• In the Sheboygan-Manitowoc area, Republican challenger Joe Leibham defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Jim Baumgart by just 23 votes out of a total 55,413 votes.

• In Racine County, Republican challenger Cathy Stepp beat incumbent Democratic Senator Kim Plache by 773 votes out of 49,961 total votes.

These 2002 races gave the Republicans the majority in the State Senate. If a just 1,335 voters out of nearly 160,000 would have switched parties or not shown up at the polls that day in November, the Democrats would have remained in control of the Senate and given legislative history, the WRA's legislative agenda would have continued to be thwarted in that house. This means bills like license reciprocity, e-commerce transactions, Trans 233 changes, limits on municipal fees, condo law revisions, expedited permit processing, comprehensive planning revisions and TIF reforms would have likely never passed last session.

Just a handful of votes determined who won the presidency and who controlled the legislature. It's likely an even smaller handful of votes determined your mayoral, county board, city council and school board elections too.

The point is that voting should not be taken lightly or casually. Voting is not only important because it is the foundation of our democracy, it's important because it directly impacts your state, your community, your business and your family. Most likely nothing else you do November 2 will be more important.

It's now your turn to make a difference. Vote.

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