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Lawmakers propose moving election cycle

Wisconsin legislators are pushing to move elections for clerk of courts, district attorney and other offices to the spring and make them non-partisan.

On Tuesday, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 51 which would require a constitutional amendment.

The proposed changes would make races for clerk of courts, district attorney, sheriff, register of deeds, county clerk, treasurer, surveyor and coroner all non-partisan.

The resolution would also move those elections from November to April and change start dates from January to the June following the election.

The motivation for the proposal is to eliminate politics from elections in which there is no benefit for partisanship, said Charlie Bellin, legislative assistant to Rep. Richard Spanbauer, R-Oshkosh, a primary sponsor of the resolution.

“Basically, we want it so voters are not distracted by party politics,” Bellin said, “so they can focus on the best person for the job, rather than what party they belong to.”

But Dane County Clerk of Court Carlo Esqueda questioned the need to pursue a constitutional change for what he viewed as a minor issue.

Esqueda, a Democrat, ran unopposed for his second four-tear term last fall and said politics hasn’t factored into his races or decision-making on the job.

“I would say this is not in any way a necessary step,” he said. “I’m not aware of any crying need to make this change.”

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