Voters soon will head to the polls again — this time on May 12 — to decide in a special election who gets to serve in the U.S. Congress for the next six months.

What a waste of money. There are so many elections in the northwoods this year, poll sites seem more like a summer cabin for electors.

Democrat Tricia Zunker, of Wausau, is a law professor who currently serves as Wausau School Board president. Republican Tom Tiffany, of Minoqua, has served as a Wisconsin state senator since 2012. They will face off in the special election for the states Seventh District seat in the U.S. Congress. 

The special election was called for when Sean Duffy stepped down from the position last September. It already has been eight months since he left office. What is six months more?

Now, taxpayers are funding a special election that could have easily been folded into the spring election held earlier this month or simply postponed to the general election in November.

If the goal of the special election is to ensure residents in the state’s northwoods are properly represented in federal politics, that goal has already fell way short of the mark. Already, Seventh District residents have gone nearly a full year without a representative in Congress. It is unlikely anyone will notice a difference for the six months after the special election.

In the meantime, whoever wins will likely have to hit the road campaigning as it will be just months from the general election.

Just weeks removed from the regular spring election and only a few months away from the fall vote, why squeeze in a special election that gives little in return to voters and taxpayers.

Elections require weeks of intense work by all levels of government. Municipal clerks are charged with hiring and training poll workers (who would need to be available to work, yet, another election), administering absentee balloting, including the increasingly popular in-person absentee, registering voters, securing polling locations, holding a public test of voting equipment, publishing many election notices and the list goes on. There are more costs like programming voting machines and purchasing additional tabulator memory devices to support two simultaneous election cycles.

Past spring elections have cost around $7 million statewide. Who knows what this special election will cost, just to buy one seat in Congress for 6 months. It hardly seems worth the time, money and effort.

District 7 voters are able to request absentee ballots online, by email, by mail, or in person from municipal clerks. All ballots must be returned by mail or delivery to the municipal clerk’s office or polling place by May 12 at 8 p.m.


Ladysmith News editorials are written by news staff.

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