Wisconsin’s Spring Election: A Voter’s Guide to Candidates, Issues

Wisconsinites are heading to the polls to weigh in on an open state Supreme Court seat, three statewide referendums and a host of local candidates. Here’s what voters need to know before they cast their ballots.

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Although the race is officially nonpartisan, Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal, could shift the court’s ideological balance if she beats conservative former state Justice Daniel Kelly for a 10-year term.

Statewide Referendums

Questions 1 and 2 on statewide ballots would amend Wisconsin’s Constitution to expand criteria judges are directed to use when setting cash bail and other conditions that someone has to comply with to be released from jail before trial. A third non-binding question asks Wisconsinites their opinion on whether able-bodied adults should be required to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits.

A Crucial Election for the State Senate

In southeast Wisconsin, Republican Representative Dan Knodl and Democrat Jodi Habush Sinykin are competing for a District 8 state Senate seat that was vacated by a retirement.  The special election in an increasingly competitive district will determine whether Republicans secure a two-thirds majority in one chamber of the state Legislature.