April 2020 elections: surprises at the state and local level

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Sitting Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and Oshkosh Common Council member defeated

Lynnsey Erickson

Oshkosh voters have elected incumbent Matt Mugerauer along with political newcomers Lynnsey Erickson and Michael Ford to the Oshkosh Common Council.

Sitting councilor Bill Miller, who was appointed in 2019 to fill the vacant seat on the council, was defeated, with 122 votes separating him and Ford (4670 votes). Mugerauer garnered 5890 votes, with Erickson delivering an impressive 5890 votes to lead all candidates.

Oshkosh Area School Board incumbents Barb Herzog (9600) and Bob Poeschl (8312) both held on to their seats, defeating challenger Jen Sullivan (6044).

State Supreme Court candidate Jill Karofsky pulled off a surprising defeat of sitting conservative Justice Dan Kelly. Many saw the insistence on holding in-person voting on April 2 by Republican legislative leaders Robin Voss and Scott Fitzgerald as a strategy to keep Kelly in his office with the help of anticipated lower vote turnout in urban liberal voting areas amidst the health crisis. Kelly had first been appointed to state’s high court by Scott Walker in 2006.

Election Day was riddled with numerous controversies, including the discovery of thousands of Oshkosh and Appleton-area absentee ballots sitting in a postal center in southeastern Wisconsin. Voters in Milwaukee and Green Bay were forced to stand in long lines for hours due to severe poll staffing shortages, with some voters waiting past midnight to cast their ballot.

Stories of voter suppression and voting irregularities in Wisconsin were featured across the nation, including this profile of disenfranchised voters by PBS Frontline in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Columbia Journalism Investigations.

The next scheduled election is August 11, 2020.

Vote totals are unofficial from Winnebago County

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Justin R. Mitchell

Justin is the founding editor of the Oshkosh Independent.

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