Did you know that there is a Spring election today (April 4, 2017)? There are several statewide and local races that will be on your ballot. In Milwaukee, you can vote for State Superintendent Of Public Instruction, Justice Of The Supreme Court, Court Of Appeals Judge, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge, Milwaukee Municipal Judge, Milwaukee Public School District School Board Member.
Also on your ballot, there is a non-binding referendum for County Executive Chris Abele’s proposal for a $60 Vehicle Registration Fee (wheel tax) to provide designated funding for transit and transportation-related projects. Back in November, the Milwaukee Couty Board approved an annual $30 wheel tax, which goes into effect this year.
The polls will open at 7 am and close at 8pm. Make sure you bring a valid ID with you to the polls. To find your polling place, sample ballot and other election-related items please check out My Vote Wisconsin’s website.
Read more below.
Our good friends over at Urban Milwaukee has comprehensive voter guide with information on all the candidates. Check out it here.
Below are descriptions of the responsibilities and job duties for each position.
Justice Of The Supreme Court
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, composed of seven justices, is the state’s highest court. Located in the state Capitol, it has appellate jurisdiction over all Wisconsin courts and has discretion to determine which appeals it will hear. The Supreme Court may also hear original actions — cases that have not been heard in a lower court. The court selects the cases it will review based on criteria described in the Wisconsin Statutes.
In addition to its case deciding function, the Supreme Court has administrative and regulatory authority over all Wisconsin courts and the practice of law in the state.
Court Of Appeals Judge
The Court of Appeals is composed of 16 judges from four districts. The judges are elected to six-year terms in district-wide, non-partisan April elections. Vacancies are filled by gubernatorial appointment and the appointee is required to stand for election to a full six-year term the following spring.
the primary function of the Court of Appeals is to correct errors that occurred at the circuit court level. The published opinions of the Court are binding precedent until overruled by the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court has recognized that the Court of Appeals has a “law defining and law development” function. Cook v. Cook, 208 Wis. 2d 166, 188, 560 N.W.2d 246 (1997).
Any citizen may appeal a final judgment or order of a circuit court. Appeals of nonfinal judgments or orders (those that do not end the litigation) are accepted at the Court’s discretion.
The Court generally sits in three-judge panels to decide the merits of an appeal. Several categories of cases, however, are decided by a single judge:
- small claims actions
- municipal ordinance violations
- traffic regulation violations
- mental health, juvenile, contempt and misdemeanor cases
The Court of Appeals issues a written decision in every case. The Court’s publication committee determines which decisions will be published. If a decision is published, it may be cited as precedential authority.
No testimony is taken in the Court of Appeals. The Court relies on the circuit court record and the written briefs of the parties. The Court hears oral argument when the judges feel it would be beneficial to their decision.
The Court’s procedures can be found in Chapter 809 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
The Superintendent of Public Instruction, sometimes referred to as the State Superintendent of Schools, is a constitutional office within the executive branch of the Wisconsin state government, and acts as the executive head of the Department of Public Instruction. The superintendent is elected by the people of Wisconsin in a nonpartisan statewide ballot during the Spring primary of the same odd-numbered years that voters select members of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.
The superintendent’s responsibilities include providing leadership for Wisconsin’s public school districts; provide the public with information about school management, attendance, and performance; licensing the state’s teachers; and receive and disburse federal aid for schools. (via Wikipedia)
You can find more information on the powers and duties of the state superintendent here.
Municipal Court Judge
A municipal court is a trial court that deals exclusively with cases involving city ordinance violations. Offenses brought before a municipal court are those that occur within the limits of the municipality. Examples: traffic, assault and battery, disorderly conduct, vandalism, loitering, theft, shoplifting, building code, health code, and drunken driving. Characteristics of a municipal court include the following:
- A sentence to pay monetary forfeitures to the City is the primary sentence imposed on a guilty defendant. In addition, a municipal judge may require a defendant’s participation in one of several community service or educational programs. If a defendant does not pay the forfeiture, a judge may suspend the defendant’s driving privileges or put him or her in jail.
- Municipal court records are public records. This means that with the exception of juvenile cases, the records of all municipal court proceedings are accessible to everyone.
- All actions of the municipal court are appealable. Both the defendant and the City Attorney have the right to appeal the decision of the judge. Appeals are heard at the Circuit Court.
You can find more information about the Milwaukee’s municipal court on City of Milwaukee’s website.
Circuit Court Judge
The judges of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court are divided into five divisions: children’s, civil, family, felony and misdemeanor, with a number of subdivisions. The judges elected will preside over cases in a rotation ranging from divorce and child custody to murder and embezzlement.
Milwaukee Board of School Director
The Milwaukee Board of School Directors consists of nine members: one member elected at large, and eight members elected from numbered districts as determined by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors. The regular term of each member is four years and until their successors have been elected and qualified.
Legally, school boards are agents of the state, created by the legislature and selected by the electors of the local school district to represent and act for the state in providing the district with educational programs and facilities. The Milwaukee Board of School Directors is the policy-making body for the school system, serving within the framework provided by law, the will of the local citizenry, and the ethics of the education profession.