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Wisconsin's next election is Aug. 13. It's the primary election for dozens of Wisconsin legislative seats, and it will include two constitutional amendment ballot questions. Here's a guide to help people vote in Wisconsin.

Dora Drake wins special primary election for Wisconsin Senate seat

Dora Drake (left) and LaKeshia Myers are running to represent Senate District 4 in the Wisconsin Legislature.
Dora Drake campaign, LaKeshia Myers campaign
Dora Drake (left) and LaKeshia Myers are running to represent Senate District 4 in the Wisconsin Legislature.

Updated July 3 at 10 a.m. CDT

Milwaukee Democrat Dora Drake won a July 2 special primary election for Wisconsin Senate District 4 — the seat formerly held by Lena Taylor.

Drake defeated another Milwaukee Democrat, LaKeshia Myers, with 66% of the vote. Turnout was very low, with 8% of registered voters casting ballots.

Original story:

The special election for former Sen. Lena Taylor's seat in the Wisconsin Senate is coming up.

A primary for the seat is set for July 2, with two Democratic candidates running: LaKeshia Myers and Dora Drake. Whoever wins the primary will move to a general special election July 30.

Both Drake and Myers serve in the Wisconsin Assembly. They are now vying to take over for Taylor in the Senate.

Gov. Tony Evers appointed Taylor as a judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court earlier this year.

Many more Wisconsin Senate and Assembly seats will be up for election during the regular Aug. 13 primary and Nov. 5 general elections.

Senate District 4 represents northwest Milwaukee, Shorewood, Glendale, and parts of Wauwatosa and Brown Deer.. It was left unchanged by new legislative maps.

The candidate who wins in the July 2 primary will go on to a special general election July 30.

To find out whether you live in District 4, go to myvote.wi.gov.

This map shows the boundaries of Senate District 4.
Wisconsin State Legislature
This map shows the boundaries of Senate District 4.

How to vote in the special election primary

City of Milwaukee residents who live in District 4 can find their polling place here.

Milwaukee is hosting early in-person voting at the Capitol Drive Voting Center, Villard Library, Good Hope Library, and Clinton Rose Senior Center. Information on locations and hours here.

Shorewood residents can vote early at the village clerk's office during the hours listed here. Glendale residents can vote early at city hall during the hours listed here.

Polls will be open throughout District 4 for the special primary election from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on July 2. You can look up your polling place at myvote.wi.gov.

WUWM sent a questionnaire to the candidates appearing on the July 2 primary ballot. Their responses below may be edited for length and clarity.

Dora Drake
Campaign of Dora Drake
Dora Drake

Dora Drake

What motivated you to run for this office?

As a life-long Milwaukeean, former social worker in the criminal justice system, and current State Representative for the 11th Assembly District, I believe the time is now for new servant leadership who will put people first. We have an opportunity to collectively address issues such as public safety, reckless driving, mental health and economic growth in order to create safe and healthy communities. In addition, the State Senate seat has a greater capacity to provide constituent services, policy initiatives, and community outreach.

What concerns are you hearing from constituents, and how do you plan to address those if elected?

Reckless driving, mental health resources and transparency in education are the top issues. Red light cameras should be used as a tool to catch the perpetrators doing the crime, not charge the owner of the vehicles. In addition, our courts need support to address overcrowding in our jails, so we are not releasing the perpetrators with tickets. To address mental health, we need to prioritize funding for mental health services and change our procedures to avoid traumatizing individuals who are having a mental health episode. Lastly, I support the audit of our schools with the end result for our public schools officials having local control.

What is your biggest accomplishment from your time in the Wisconsin Assembly?

In my first term as a State Representative, I have a significant amount of legislation that was signed into law as a coauthor or cosponsored ranging from supporting small business owners, free charitable clinics, additional protections for sexual assault victims and accountability measures for law enforcement. In addition, CDC reported approximately 1 in 3 children use vape pens but in Wisconsin there was no regulation for e-cigarettes. Therefore, I worked with the Department of Revenue to pass legislation to give them the authority to go after bad actors who were keeping a separate set of books and to regulate e-cigarettes in our state.

What distinguishes your experience from the other candidate in this race?

I worked in the criminal justice system in pretrial and re-entry spaces; therefore I know the need to address effective public safety and criminal justice reform. In addition, I fight for what is best for the people I represent and I build bridges in order to find solutions. Most importantly, I do the work in committee and in the community to enact policy.

More information: candidate website

LaKeshia Myers
Campaign of LaKeshia Myers
LaKeshia Myers

LaKeshia Myers

What motivated you to run for this office?

In the Senate, there is an opportunity to have more resources to do the work of the people. Additional staff, a district office, and a budget conducive for amplified constituent outreach. I enjoy legislating and I would like the opportunity to serve on the Joint Finance Committee, which, in a body of 33 people provides better odds than in a chamber of 99. Professionally, I believe the district requires a quality continuum of leadership. I believe I have the tenacity, skill, knowledge base and moxie to serve the district and succeed Senator Taylor.

What concerns are you hearing from constituents, and how do you plan to address those if elected?

Reckless driving is a hot-button issue I am hearing about from constituents. Residents want viable solutions to curb the problem. They want action from the legislature — action being stiffer penalties for people who drive recklessly and harm others, enforcement of existing laws, innovative uses of technology to aid police, etc. They also want to see more preventative work done, such as universal driver's education. If elected to the Senate, I plan on continuing my work on reckless driving, championing red light cameras, and other traffic enforcement measures and ensuring we reinvent in universal driver's education in schools.

What is your biggest accomplishment from your time in the Wisconsin Assembly?

My biggest accomplishment in the assembly would be passing four bipartisan bills into law. It shows that I have the ability to work across the aisle. I pride myself on the quality and breadth of work I have been able to produce. I have had the opportunity to serve in a leadership capacity (former chair of Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus) and have also been appointed to a state board. I take pride in keeping my colleagues abreast of issues that may arise with legislative efforts nationally. Simply put, I pride myself on being a "work horse" and not a "show pony." The work has been its own reward.

What distinguishes your experience from the other candidate in this race?

I believe my previous experience as legislative staff in both the State Senate and congress distinguish me from my opponent. There is no substitute for the level of training one receives working in the halls of congress. This, coupled with my extensive background as a small business owner and career as an educator provide a unique vantage point and approach to legislating. Because of these influences, I am able to look beyond the words of a bill to assess the intent and gauge its impact on the community. I believe this has helped me become a more discerning legislator.

More information: candidate website

Editor's note: This post may be updated.

Emily is an editor and project leader for WUWM.
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