In the District 4 aldermanic primary elections held last Tuesday, incumbent candidates Jeff Lutz and Joe Martin advanced to the April 3 nonpartisan elections, while Lawrence University Associate Professor of Physics Megan Pickett was eliminated.
For the past 10 years, Lawrence University had been split into Districts 1, 2, 4, 8 and 11, dividing student representation into five separate districts. Last summer, recent redistricting by city leaders grouped Lawrence and surrounding local neighborhoods into one district — District 4.
When Warch Campus Center Director Greg Griffin heard of the redistricting, he realized that there would be a need for new polling locations and pushed for a site near the Lawrence campus. As a result of his efforts, Alexander Gym became District 4’s polling location, one of six new polling locations in Appleton. Griffin also collaborated with Identification System Controller Jodie Bonikowskie to create free voter ID cards for students who might not be aware of Wisconsin’s new voter identification law. The state mandate requires voters to show a form of photo identification before they can vote.
“Students who did not bring their passport here with them or have an acceptable form of identification now have the chance to vote with our voter IDs,” said Griffin.
Griffin also arranged for a shuttle to run hourly from the front of the Warch Campus Center to Alexander Gym. For many busy students, this eased accessibility to the polling station.
Sophomore Will Moser asserted, “I really wanted to go and support my candidate of choice, but I totally would not have gone to vote if we didn’t have that awesome shuttle.”
In the final election results released late Tuesday night, it was revealed that Martin came in first with 177 votes, Lutz came in second with 165 votes and Pickett came in last with 118 votes.
On Pickett’s campaign blog, “Megan Pickett for Appleton Alderperson District 4,” she revealed that she was “of course disappointed with the results, but not the effort, the kindness and help [she] received over the last few months.” She also extended her congratulations to Martin and Lutz for their victory.
This year, 15 percent of Appleton’s voters casted ballots. Voter turnout for the nonpartisan primary is traditionally low, although this number is an increase from last year’s voter turnout of only 14.2 percent.