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Editorial: Next round of elections will be close to home

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opinion River Falls, 54022
River Falls Journal
715-425-5666 customer support
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

After a governor's recall and presidential election within a span of four months, it's hard to imagine voting again. But while spring elections aren't until April, interested candidates need to register from now until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, for school board, some town boards and for city council.

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Voter turnout in the River Falls area for the Nov. 6 election was exceptional. The same couldn't be said for the nationwide voter turnout -- it dipped to only 57.5% after reaching 62.3% in 2008 and 60.4% in 2004.

In the city of River Falls, overall turnout Nov. 6 was 86% compared to 82% in 2008. At the high school polling station, turnout was 84%; Meyer Middle School, 90%; University Center, 78%; National Guard Armory, 93% on the Pierce County side and 89% on the St. Croix side.

For Nov. 6, the town of River Falls reported an 82% voter turnout rate; Troy, 85%; Kinnickinnic and Martell, 84%; and Clifton, 81%.

Spring elections, by contrast, are local. They involve governing bodies that make decisions that closely affect our daily lives. Good people willing to give of their time and commit to public service are needed.

--For the seven-member school board, two seats are open. They are now held by Manny Kenney and Dennis Behnke. School board members serve three-year terms. Nomination papers can be picked up at the district's central office, 852 E. Division St.

Those who do are given a "Guide for Candidates" that explains about the responsibilities of being a school board member. When candidates submit their forms, they will be asked to provide identification and show proof of residence.

--For the seven-member city council (plus the mayor), four seats are open: District 1, now held by Tom Caflisch; District 2, now held by Jim Nordgren; District 3, now held by David Reese; and At-large, now held by Randy Kusilek.

Council members serve two-year terms. Candidates will receive nomination and declaration of candidacy papers as part of a packet that includes a council member handbook. This is available at City Hall, 222 Lewis St.

Council candidates from a certain district also need to collect 20 or more supporting signatures from within their district. At-large council candidates need to collect at least 200 supporting signatures citywide.

This must be turned in and then signed by the candidates at City Hall with either the clerk or deputy clerk present. It can also be done in front of a notary and then mailed in. The candidate's council packet is also available at the city's website: www.rfcity.org on the home page.

n Unlike some towns that pick candidates during caucuses, the towns of Kinnickinnic and Troy have changed to a primary election system similar to the city's. Candidates collect signatures and register with the clerk. Their names are then published on the spring election ballot.

In Kinnickinnic, three town board positions are open: for chair, now held by Roger Van Beek; for supervisor 1, now held by Axel Bogdan; and for supervisor 2, now held by Dave Nelson. All positions require that candidates collect 20 signatures in the town. Paperwork can be picked up at the Town Hall, 12371 County Road J from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, or by calling clerk Lola Higgins at 715-821-3082.

n Troy, three town board positions are open: for chair, now held by Ray Knapp; for supervisor 1, now held by Sue Warren; and for supervisor 3, now held by Jan Cuccia. Paperwork can be picked up at the Town Hall, 654 Glover Road, from Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A minimum of 20 supporting signatures per candidate is needed. For questions, call clerk Jennifer Clark at 715-425-2665 or email her at towntroy@baldwin-telecom.net.

n Other towns pick candidates during January caucuses. All voting-age town residents can participate.

In River Falls, open positions are: chair, now held by Diana Smith; supervisor 1, now held by LeRoy Kusilek; supervisor 2, now held by Siri Smith; clerk, now held by Ruth Stern; and treasurer, now held by Caroline Hamilton.

In Clifton, open positions are: chair, now held by LeRoy Peterson; both supervisors, now held by John Rohl and Greg Eggers; and clerk/treasurer, now held by Judy Clement-Lee.

In Martell, open positions are: chair, now held by Arby Linder; supervisor 1, now held by Tim Wiff; supervisor 2, now held by Brad Taplin; clerk, now held by Janice Swanson; and treasurer, now held by Noreen Falde.

Online Poll: Suitable school speaker?

The Journal's online poll question this week asked: If the decision were yours to make, would you have allowed Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe to visit River Falls middle and high schools to talk about bullying and discrimination?

Early results: YES, 62.5%. No, 37.5%.

Add your voice by going to www.riverfallsjournal.com

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