The Spring 2020 election ended Monday, concluding without a victor to accept the Ladysmith mayor position and a Rusk County Board supervisor race separated by only 4 votes.
Ballots were finally counted April 13, almost a week after polls closed.
The city’s mayoral race ended with no obvious winner as the candidate with the most votes recently accepted the city administrator position and is ineligible for the elected office.
Earlier this year Alan Christianson filed candidacy papers to seek re-election as mayor. During the re-election campaign, he stepped down as mayor to apply for the city administrator job. At the time he stepped down, ballots had already been finalized with Christianson as the only named mayoral candidate on the ballot.
Write-in candidates Jim West and Kalvin Vacho launched campaigns for mayor, coming in second and third respectively.
With Christianson now ineligible to hold elected office in the city, the position does not automatically go to West, the second place finisher. The council can fill the mayoral vacancy by appointing for the residue of the unexpired term or ordering a special election.
The race for District 1 of the Rusk County Board may be too close to call with incumbent Terry Dusell currently narrowly ahead of challenger Peter Boss, 118-114. The race was a repeat of two years ago, when Dusell defeated Boss, who at the time was county board chairman.
A recount does not automatically take place, but one may be requested by a candidate.
The county’s board of canvass is scheduled to meet Thursday, April 16, to finalize its election results.
Voters went to the polls in the statewide Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary on Tuesday, April 7, but final results were kept sealed until this week. Hours before the election was to take place, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order postponing the vote to June 9, citing public health risk amid a spreading coronavirus pandemic. The Republican-controlled legislature immediately appealed, and hours later the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the governor. The decision by the state’s highest court allowed the election to proceed as scheduled on April 7.
Also last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wisconsin Republicans on a separate issue, voting 5-to-4 to overturn a lower federal court’s decision to extend the deadline for absentee balloting. Previously, a federal judge had granted voters an extra week to cast ballots and have them counted.
All absentee ballots now had to be either hand delivered by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7 or postmarked by Tuesday, April 7 and received by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 13 to be counted, according to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Absentee ballots would not be accepted if they were not postmarked by Tuesday, April 7; postmarked on or before Tuesday, April 7, but received after 4 p.m. on Monday, April 13; or hand delivered or without a postmark received after 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7.
Rusk County voters gave strong support to a Wisconsin State Supreme Court candidate that received backing by Republican groups. In Rusk County, Daniel Kelley (inc.) received 2,113 votes to challenger Jill Karofsky with 1,507. Statewide, Karofsky defeated Kelley with 55 percent of the vote.
A statewide referendum on Marsy’s Law passed overwhelmingly with nearly 75 percent of the vote, amending the state constitution to guarantee crime victims more rights. The amendment adds 17 specific rights for crime victims to the state constitution. The amendment includes rights to privacy, timely notice of release, escape of the accused, full restitution from the accused and notification of all proceedings of a criminal case upon request.
Mayor — Alan Christianson, 411; Jim West (write-in), 232, Kalvin Vacho, 47 (write-in).
Alderman District 2 — Bill Morgan (inc.), 52; Kelli Grotzinger (write-in), 11.
Alderman District 4 — Gerard Schueller, 70; Al Christianson, 60.
Alderman District 6 — Al Hraban (inc.), 71; Ryan Heavey (write-in), 12.
Municipal Court Judge — Terry Carter (inc.), 644.
District 1 — Terry Dusell (inc.), 118; Peter Boss, 114.
District 5 — Timothy Miller (write-in), 28; Arlene Knops (write-in), 15.
District 12 — Jim Meyer, 119; Roger Gierke (inc.), 58.
Most other races were uncontested.