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This isn’t just another Tuesday for most voters in Columbia, northern Dane, northwestern Dodge, the western corner of Fond du Lac and southern Marquette and Green Lake counties.

It’s Election Day. So please participate if you can.

Voters will elect a state representative for the 42nd Assembly District in south-central Wisconsin. Also, voters in northeastern Wisconsin will pick a state senator for the 1st Senate District, which stretches from the Fox Cities to the tip of Door County.

The winning candidates will serve for only a few months before facing election again this fall. But the status of being a sitting lawmaker will surely help their re-election chances. And it’s possible the Legislature could come back into session this summer for some kind of emergency action.

These two races also will do a lot to set the tone for the fall elections, in terms of which political party or types of candidates seem to have the momentum.

All of the challengers — Republican Jon Plumer and Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd in the 42nd Assembly race, and Democrat Caleb Frostman and Republican Andre Jacque in the 1st Senate District — have already registered for the fall elections. So rematches are likely, regardless of today’s outcomes.

But today’s elections matter. The governor had tried to avoid special elections, stalling and fighting in court — only to lose, which created this year’s odd scenario of back-to-back elections for the same seats. Gov. Scott Walker should have scheduled these elections long ago and immediately after they became vacant.

So in that sense, today’s elections are a victory for letting the public have its say. As Judge Paul F. Reilly of the 2nd District Appellate Court wrote in rejecting Gov. Scott Walker’s bid to avoid today’s elections: “Representative government and the election of our representatives are never ‘unnecessary,’ never a ‘waste of taxpayer resources.’”

The judge is right.

So get involved if you live in one of these districts. Vote. Have your say today. Help guide the direction of Wisconsin.

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