A look at the referendums on Sauk County ballots

November 1, 2018

Voters throughout Sauk County will have an opportunity to weigh in next week on how Wisconsin political district boundaries are drawn, the influence of money in politics, and the legalization of medical marijuana.

And in some parts of the county, voters will see additional referendum questions involving all-terrain vehicle use on public roads or school district finances.

Countywide referendums

The Sauk County Board has approved four questions that will appear on ballots countywide in Tuesday’s election.

One of the countywide referendums involves the process by which state lawmakers redraw political districts after each 10-year U.S. Census, and whether that process should be shielded from partisan influence.

The question will appear on ballots as follows: “Should the Wisconsin Legislature create a nonpartisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional redistricting plans?”

Advisory referendums are nonbinding, meaning the results cannot compel lawmakers to act. They are intended to give voters a chance to make their views known to the politicians who represent them.

Another ballot question is in response to the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, which protected corporate political spending on the grounds that corporations have a First Amendment right to free speech.

A question that will appear on local ballots will read as follows: “Should the Constitution of the United States of America be amended to state: Only human beings are endowed with constitutional rights — not corporations, unions, nonprofits or other artificial entities.”

An additional advisory referendum about political spending involves another controversial Supreme Court case, Buckley v. Valeo, which held that certain limits on political spending were unconstitutional. The court’s decision determined that spending money in an election is an exercise of free speech.

Sauk County voters will see the following question on their ballots: “Should the Constitution of the United States of America be amended to state: Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting speech.”

The last countywide referendum will ask voters whether they would like to make marijuana legal for medical purposes in Wisconsin, as other states have done.

The question will appear as follows: “Should the state of Wisconsin legalize marijuana so that people with debilitating medical conditions may access medical marijuana if they have a recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

Town ATV referendums

Voters in the town of Excelsior will have an opportunity to weigh in on the following question: “Should the Excelsior Town Board pass an ordinance designating all town roads in the Town of Excelsior as ATV/UTV Routes?”

And Town of Troy voters will see this question on their ballots: “Should the Town of Troy allow ATV/UTV type vehicles the use of one or more selected town roads at the discretion of the Town Board?”

School referendums

Voters in the River Valley School District and the Hillsboro School District will be asked whether their local boards should be permitted to exceed state-imposed revenue limits.

Hillsboro district residents also will be asked about the issuance of general obligation bonds, as will voters in the Wisconsin Dells School Districts.