Attention-grabbing Zimdars yard signs now available

You may have seen some of his signs already, but you haven’t, you can expect to see the distinctive yellow and black signs popping up all over the 41st Assembly District in the next couple of weeks.

Nate Zimdars is the only Democrat running for the seat formerly held by Republican Joan Ballweg. Thus, he will be on the Aug. 11 partisan primary ballot unopposed. After the Aug. 11 election, Zimdars will face off against the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 3 in general election.

Visit Nate’s website.

Visit Nate’s Facebook page.


Wouldn’t a Zimdars State Assembly yard sign look great in your yard? To get your sign, email Nate. There is no cost for the signs, but Nate would not turn away a donation. You can also send a request using our Contact Form

Opportunity exists to ask tough questions of candidates for 41st Assembly and 6th Congressional Districts

Candidate forums hosted by LWV of the Ripon Area set for Thursday, June 25 and Wednesday, July 1

Here is a golden opportunity to ask local candidates for public office their position on issues that are of key importance to you.

The League of Women Voters of the Ripon Area is hosting a series of candidate forums at the end of June and at the start of July.

Each participating candidate will be asked the same question by the LWV moderator, so all candidates have an equal opportunity to answer a question.

Questions for the candidates come from the general public–from you.

Submit your question in advance of the forums by sending them to You can also use snail mail: LWV Candidate Forum, P. O. Box 5, Ripon, WI 54971.

All questions will be screened prior to submission to the candidates and when appropriate, similar questions will be combined into a single question.

As of today, June 15, candidate forums as being held on the following dates:

  • Thursday, June 25, Republicans competing in the partisan primary for the 41st Assembly District on Aug. 11.
  • Wednesday, July 1, Democrats competing in the partisan primary for the 6th Congressional District on Aug. 11.

An attempt to hold a forum for the Republicans running in the partisan primary for the 14th Senate District on Aug. 11, scheduled for Tuesday, June 24, failed as one of the invited candidates declined participation. LWV policy is to hold candidate forums only when there are two or more candidates willing to participate. The LWV also does not disclose the rationale for a decision not to participate.












How to request an absentee ballot (a mail-in ballot) for the Aug. 3 partisan primary and the Nov. 3 general elections

If you want to vote by mail you can request an absentee ballot and then return the ballot by (1.) mail, (2.) in person to your municipal clerk (Early Voting) or (3.) in person on voting day.


If you want to request an absentee ballot, do so now at Don’t wait. Then check to make sure that your request has been received by the Wisconsin Elections Commission.


Who can Request an Absentee Ballot?

Any qualified elector (U.S. citizen, 18 years of age, who has resided in the district in which he or she intends to vote for at least 10 days) who registers to vote is eligible to request an absentee ballot.  Under Wisconsin law, voters do not need a reason or excuse, such as being out of town on Election Day, to vote absentee.  Any voter who prefers to vote by absentee ballot may request one.  You have several options for requesting an absentee ballot and casting your vote.

Request an Absentee Ballot by Mail

If you are a registered Wisconsin voter, you can download the Application For Absentee Ballot (EL-121).  Just complete the form and mail it to your municipal clerk’s office. You can find your clerk at MyVote WI: by searching for your voter record or performing an address search. You can also find your clerk by searching through the list of all Wisconsin municipal clerks.  Your application must be received by the clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday before the election in order for an absentee ballot to be SENT to you.  You will also need to provide a copy of your acceptable photo ID with your request.  If you have not previously provided a copy of photo ID, photo ID must accompany your first application by mail.  More information about photo ID can be found at 

If you are not already registered, you will need to register to vote before an absentee ballot can be sent to you.

Voters who are indefinitely confined, meaning they have a difficult time getting to the polls due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability, may request that a ballot be automatically sent to them for each election.  Indefinitely confined voters do not need to provide a photo ID with their absentee ballot request.  If you or someone you know are indefinitely confined you will make this designation in box 6 of the Application for Absentee Ballot (EL-121).  More information on the exceptions to the photo ID law can be found at:

Military and Overseas voters have additional options for absentee ballot deliveryClick here for MilitaryClick here for Overseas. Military and permanent overseas voters do not need to provide a photo ID with their request.

Request an Absentee Ballot by E-Mail, Online, or by Fax

Regular Wisconsin voters may also request that a ballot be sent to them by sending an e-mail or fax to their municipal clerk. Registered voters may also use to request their absentee ballot by clicking “Vote Absentee.” This request must be made no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday before the election in order for an absentee ballot to be SENT to you.  If you have not previously provided a copy of photo ID, photo ID must accompany your application.  More information about the photo ID requirement can be found at

Instructions for Completing Absentee Ballot

You can find detailed instructions for completing your absentee ballot here: Uniform Instructions for Absentee Voters.

Deadlines for Returning Your Absentee Ballot

Your completed absentee ballot must be delivered no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.  The U.S. Postal Service recommends absentee ballots be mailed one week before Election Day to arrive in time.

In-Person Absentee Voting at your Municipal Clerk’s Office (Early Voting)

You can also vote absentee at your local municipal clerk’s office.  If you apply for an absentee ballot in your municipal clerk’s office, or another designated location for in-person absentee voting, you will vote your ballot immediately in the clerk’s office, seal your ballot in the proper envelope, and return it to a member of the clerk’s staff.  No ballots may be taken out of the clerk’s office.

You will need to show your acceptable photo ID for voting when voting by in-person absentee ballot.  More information about acceptable photo IDs can be found at

When can I Vote an In-Person Absentee Ballot?

Each city, village and town in Wisconsin is responsible for setting the dates and hours of in-person absentee voting for their municipality.  To find the dates and hours for in-person absentee voting where you live,  contact your municipal clerk.

Who is my Municipal Clerk?

The municipal clerk is the clerk for the City, Village or Town in Wisconsin where you reside.  If you do not know who your municipal clerk is, or where the clerk’s office is located, please use the MyVote Wisconsin website: to locate your clerk’s contact information.  You can also find your clerk by searching a list of all Wisconsin Municipal Clerk Contact Information.

Information provided by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, June 10, 2020













Late June, early July dates set for candidate forums hosted by the LWV of the Ripon Area

Candidates seeking election to Wisconsin’s 14th Senate District, 41st Assembly District, and the 6th Congressional District are being invited to participate in a series of virtual forums being hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Ripon Area and the Five County Tobacco Coalition.

Initially, the forums will be for only the Aug. 11 contested partisan primaries. After the primaries, forums will be held for the final two or three candidates in each race. 

For example, since there are four Republicans seeking the 41st State Assembly seat being vacated by Joan Ballweg, they are being invited to a forum on Wednesday, June 25. 

However, since there is only one Democrat, Nate Zimdars, seeking the Assembly post, he won’t participate in the June 25 forum. The same is true for the independent candidate Jean Bartz. Instead, Zimdars, Bartz, and the winner of the Republican primary on Aug. 11 will be invited to a forum in early September on a day yet to be determined.

The League candidate forums:

  • 14th Senate District–Wednesday, June 24, 
  • 41st Assembly District–Thursday, June 25
  • 6th Congressional District–Wednesday, July 1

After the Aug. 11 6th Congressional partisan primary, the Democrat winner and Rep. Grothman will be invited to a September forum.

The forums, which will be broadcast live on the Spectrum public access channel 986 in the Ripon area and then posted to YouTube, will be moderated. 

Candidates are being asked to appear in person at the Ripon City Hall, site of the forums. According to Cal Edwards, chair of the League’s Voter Service committee, social distancing rules will be enforced. This is the same procedure used when the two candidates for the mayor post in Ripon participated in a LWV-sponsored candidate forum March 25.

Edwards also said that questions for each candidate will come from the general public and that questions they would like candidates to address should send their questions to LWV at the following address: LWV Candidate Forum, P.O. Box 5, Ripon, WI, 54971

Questions can also be submitted via email at

The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  The League was founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt who was born in Ripon, Wisconsin.

“The Five County Tobacco Free Coalition values the opportunity to collaborate with the League of Women Voters of Ripon Area on these forums. Over the years, our coalition has collaborated with various organizations on candidate forums in order to provide an opportunity for community members to ask candidates questions about health and wellness,” said Sandy Bernier, Coordinator of the local tobacco control coalition.

Because of time constraints, questions that are similar will be combined. Questions are directed at all the candidates running for the same position, not to any candidate in particular.

Letters inviting the candidates to participate in the forums were sent out on Monday. 









Democrats Matt Boor and Michael Beardsley fill papers for the 6th Congressional District, joining Jessica King

Matt Boor, a candidate for the 6th Congressional District seat now held by Republican Glenn Grothman.

As of 6 p.m. on Monday, June 1, two more Democrats. Matt Boor and Michael Beardsley, filed nomination papers with the Wisconsin Election Commission. Both are seeking to unset Glenn Grothman, the incumbent Republican 6th Congressional District. According to the WEC, the validation of the signatures on their nomination papers was pending. Boor and Beardsley join Democrat Jessica King, whose signatures were validated earlier in the week. If the signatures for Boor and Beardsley are validate, the three Democrats will face each other in a partisan primary election on Aug. 11.

Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear voter purge case after deadlocking 4-4 on it back in December


It’s a mess. 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will look again at a case involving the purging of names from the state’s voter polls.

Back in December it whiffed when the issue was originally considered, after one of the judges, David Kelly, recused myself from the case because he was on the April 7 ballot.

Cynics might suggest that Kelly, a favorite of conservatives, was being careful to sidestep the issue because if he voted to purge the voters his vote would then be used against him in the April election. 

No matter as Kelly, who had been appointed to the state’s top court by then Republican Gov. Scott Walker, was upset by liberal Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky, 

But wait, Kelly is still on the bench until Aug. 1, when Karofsky takes his robe away.

So, if the court decides to rule on the voter purge before then, and Kelly votes as expected, the 4-4 deadlock vote in December becomes a 5-4 vote in favor of allowing the voter purge. Kelly will then leave as a hero of the state’s conservatives.

Democrats and Republicans alike are closely watching the case because President Trump won Wisconsin by only 22,000 votes in 2016. And most observers suggest that in 2020, Wisconsin will be a key swing state. Democrats are opposing the voter purge because they feel it is part of a nationwide effort to suppress voting in 2020. 

Read more on this from an article in the Journal Sentinel.


Update: Democrats Matt Boor and Michael Beardsley signature validation is pending; if approved they will join Jessica King on Aug. 11 for right to face Republican Glenn Grothman

As of 12 a.m. today (Friday, May 29) only one 6th Congressional District candidate, Democrat Jessica King, has had her nomination signatures validated by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

Two other Democrats, Matt Boor and Michael  Beardsley, have filed their papers but the validation of signatures is pending. Boor was an early announced candidate fo the position in Congress, while Beardsley is a late addition.

On the Republican side, only incumbent Glenn Grothman has filed his papers and according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission website, the validation of his signatures is also pending.

The deadline for submitting nomination papers is Monday, June 1 at 5 p.m.

As filing deadline looms, Democrats Nate Zimdars and Jessica King qualify for State Assembly and 6th Congressional District battles

Democrat Nate Zimdars, a candidate for the 41st State Assembly this fall.

It’s a bit early–the filing deadline is Monday, June 1, but a number of local people seeking elected office have already had their nomination paper signatures validated by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, including Democrat Nate Zimdars who is seeking election to the 41st State Assembly post being vacated by Republican Joan Ballweg. 

Zimdars, by virtue of his being the only Democrat seeking the seat in Madison, will not face an opponent in a partisan primary on Aug. 11.

Several Republicans, however, have had their nomination signatures validated, which means there will be a Republican partisan primary on Aug. 11. 

Gary Will, the former mayor of Ripon, and Alex Dallman, a staffer for Republican Congressman Glen Grothman, will face off on Aug. 11. 

As of today, two candidates for the 6th Congressional District, including Democrat Jessica King, have submitted the required number of valid signatures. The other candidate is incumbent Republican Glenn Grothman. If they are the only candidates with the required valid signatures, they will be on the Nov. 3 ballot. 

A second Democrat, Matt Boor, has taken out nomination papers for the seat in Congress, but the Election Commission did not include him on its list of candidates submitting the required valid signatures on its 12 a.m., May 28 report. If Boor comes up with the required valid signatures by the June 1 deadline, he and King will meet in a partisan primary on Aug. 3.








Watch “Slay the Dragon” this week, for free, and be prepared to be outraged by how Republicans have negated your vote

If you have ever wondered how we got to a point in Wisconsin where Democrats can win more votes for Wisconsin State Assembly positions, but end up with a decided minority position. In 2018, Democratic party candidates for the Assembly earned 1,306,878 votes, while Republican candidates tallied 1,103,505 That’s a difference of 203,000 votes. Yet, because of gerrymandered assembly districts created by Republicans in 2011, Democrats won only 33 of the 99 seats in the election.

Isn’t that insane?

If you want to better understand how that happened, you should watch “Slay the Dragon”, the new documentary that details how Republican stole elections in numerous states across the United States after they launched a concerted, systemic effort in 2011 to redraw voting districts so that their candidates would win the majority of seats, even while tallying fewer votes.

You can watch it, free of charge, 

To receive your link to view Slay the Dragon, click here. And then on Saturday watch a live panel discuss the movie and the implications for the next 10 years in Wisconsin.

View CBS News report on the film.









State’s 7th Congressional District stays Republican after special election

A Republican is succeeding a Republican in a special 7th District Congressional election held Tuesday in Wausau. Republican Tom Tiffany, a state senator since 2013, defeated Tricia Zucker by a relatively large margin, with Tiffany pulling in 57% to Zucker’s 43%.

Tiffany is replacing Sean Duffy, who stepped down from his seat in Congress in September of last year. By resigning before the end of his term, Tiffany forced the special election.

Zunker, who is 39 (Tiffany is 63) is the president of the Wausau School Board and an associate justice for the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court. She is the first Native American woman to run for Congress in Wisconsin since Ada Deer lost to Republican Scott Klug in 1992. 

Several things make the election noteworthy for people outside of the district. First, big money once again seems to have helped the Republican winner. According to an article in the Wausau Herald, Tiffany raised more than $1.3 million for his campaign, easily topping Zunker’s total of $350,000.

Second, because all members of Congress are up for reelection this fall, Tiffany will seek reelection on Nov. 3. In politics, incumbents, which Tiffany is thanks to the special election, typically do better than challengers. 

Third, despite losing to Tiffany, Zunker’s losing margin (14 points) was closer than the 20% margin Republican Donald Trump won by in 2016.

Fourth, before the district was gerrymandered in 2011 by the Republicans, the 7th Congressional District was home to former Democrat David Obey.

Finally, the district was also another test of how people vote during the pandemic. More than 91,000 absentee ballots were returned in the district, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. But more than 114,000 people requested one. It is not clear why almost 23,000 people who requested absentee ballots (vote by mail) did not submit their ballots. One answer may be they ultimately decided to vote in person, despite the pandemic. 













Three more candidates seek the 41st State Assembly seat being vacated by Joan Ballweg

Nate Zimdars is the only Democrat seeking the 41st State Assembly seat being vacated by Joan Ballweg.

Hey, who knew this was such a popular job? This week, three additional people announced that they are running for the 41st State Assembly seat being vacated by Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan). Ballweg is now running for the 14th State Senate seat being vacated by Luther Olsen (R-Ripon).

Previously, Ripon’s Nate Zimdars, a Democrat, and two Republicans, Allex Dallman, Green Lake, and Nate Barber, Ripon, announced that they too want to succeed in Ballweg.

But this week, things got a bit more interesting as two more Republicans and an independent decided to join the crowd. 

The biggest surprise: former Ripon Mayor Gary Will. Will just completed his fifth two-year term as the top elected official in Ripon. He declined to seek a sixth term this spring and most observers thought that was it for Will. Obviously not. 

Also announcing for the position was Luke Dreske, a Ripon College junior who has been active in on-campus politics. He is president of the Ripon College Republicans and president of the school’s student senate. Dreske is a native of Berlin.

The third new face in the fight for the trip to Madison is Jean Bartz of Wisconsin Dells. She is running as an independent. 

Will, Barber, Dreske, and Dallman will face off in a primary election on Aug. 11. The winner of the primary will advance to face Zimdars on Nov. 3, if Zimdars remains the only Democrat to indicate an interest in the position. Bartz, because she is running as an independent will also be on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The winner of the Nov. 3 election receives a $52,999 annual salary.


Nine more counties, included Marquette, voted in favor of Fair Maps on April 7

Jermitt Krage, chair of the Marquette County Democratic Party, was one of the leaders of the fight to get a Fair Maps referendum passed in Marquette County.

There are a lot of things in life that do not make sense. One of them is the resistance that Republicans in Wisconsin (and elsewhere) exhibit when it comes to redistricting or gerrymandering. Overwhelmingly, voters in Wisconsin want to see a nonpartisan approach to redistricting. Last week, it was revealed that the voters in Marquette County approved a non-binding advisory referendum calling for Fair Maps. Marquette County typically votes Republican so the vote is further proof that even Republicans favor Fair Maps. In all, nine counties had a Fair Maps referendum on their April 7 ballots and all nine passed. So why in the world do the state’s Republican leaders hang on to a highly unpopular opposition position, one that is costing them votes?

For more on this, read this opinion from the Madison Capital Times

If canvassing is out, how do candidates obtain the needed signatures for their nomination papers?

Going door to door to gather signatures for nomination papers may be a thing of the past, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the new world of pandemic-influenced voting and elections, today, April 15,  is an important and not surprisingly confusing day: it is the day candidates for the Wisconsin State Assembly and State Senate can begin gathering signatures for their nomination papers.

Every member of the Assembly (all 99 of them) and half of the Senate needs to have the required number of signatures submitted and approved by the Wisconsin Election Commission by June 1 if they want to be on the ballot.

Candidates for the Assembly must obtain a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 400 signatures. Candidates for the Senate must have a minimum of 400 and a maximum of 800 signatures. 

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and if needed a primary election will be held Aug. 11.

But, wait, how do they do that if they can’t rely on the normal process, which involves going door to door asking for signatures? Check out this article from the Wisconsin Examiner to learn about the options being considered.

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