Wisconsin and Racine County saw a boatload of ballots cast on Tuesday — and more than a few lines at the polls — as voters waited patiently to do their civic duty. More than 2.7 million Wisconsinites showed up at the polls or voted early making it the highest turnout for a mid-term election in the state’s history with an estimated 60 percent of the voting age population casting ballots. Only presidential elections, which have had turnouts of 67 to 73 percent in recent elections, have topped that mark.
The high state turnout was echoed here in Racine County, which recorded a turnout of 84 percent of registered voters.
Badger state voters clearly take their right to vote seriously and that, too, was demonstrated this week: Nationwide, according to the United States Election Project, the turnout of the voting-eligible population was just 47 percent. By national standards that, too, was an improvement from the 36.7 percent turnout in the 2014 midterms and it was the highest national turnout since 1966.
If you were standing in line in the chilly early morning mist give yourself a pat on the back for participating in our participatory democracy. A tip of the hat as well to the election officials who worked diligently to ensure a fair and honest election and to the thousands of poll workers across the state who worked a 14-hour day to help keep the lines moving.
Elections, of course, have winners and losers and there were those who were exhilarated and those who were dismayed on Tuesday night — the candidates who put their views and promises on the line for the voting public to judge. The winners now have some heavy lifting to do as they try to accomplish what they told voters they would do if elected.
But those candidates who didn’t get the nod on Tuesday also deserve a round of applause for their strong campaigns and putting themselves and their visions on the line. They offered up a choice and that, too, is important to good government.
Enjoy the sounds of silence. Yes, the airwaves are once again blessedly bereft of those snarling attack ads that took liberties with the truth and painted one office-seeker or another with a bucket of mud that made them look almost criminal.
That, too, we suppose is a part of the election process, but it’s one that makes us furrow our brow with distaste over the half-lies and misrepresentations. The silence, like the soon-to-come first snow of winter, will settle in quietly and we welcome it.
Yes, since we are talking snow — and some of it could come to parts of the state today — that means that the election season is over and the holiday season is nearly upon us. Wait, no, it’s here already. Racine’s Downtown Holiday Parade and Community Tree Lighting Ceremony is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday on Monument Square. Pre-parade activities start at 4:30 p.m.
There will be floats, cookies, hot chocolate, balloons, entertainment, window-shopping — and, of course, an appearance by Santa. There will also be a collection of essential winter items — hats, gloves, mittens and scarves this year.
Salutes also to the Lewis family — siblings Mike and Lisa — who donated the Community Christmas tree, named ‘Bernie’s tree” after their late mother. For the past half century the tree grew up at the Lewis home at 10th Street and College Avenue and now it graces Monument Square.