County Executives in Wisconsin currently run without a party designation, but candidates for offices such as sheriff, district attorney, and county clerk typically claim affiliations with the Republican or Democratic parties. A state lawmaker thinks several of those elected county offices should be non-partisan positions.
State Representative Dick Spanbauer (R-Oshkosh) says it makes no sense for elected offices that serve vital roles in county government to have political influences hanging over them. He’s proposing a state constitutional amendment that would make those offices non-partisan.
Spanbauer says the change would force voters to pick a candidate that is most qualified for jobs tied to public safety, rather than someone aligned with party politics. He admits politics would likely still play a role in some of those races, as it still does in some county executive elections. However, he believes more voters would look at the qualifications of a candidate if an “R” or “D” is not next to their name on the ballot.
The proposed amendment would also move all election for county offices to the spring election cycle, which is when county executives are currently on the ballot.
The proposal would need to pass two consecutive sessions of the Legislature before going to voters in a statewide referendum.