Secret Ballot Vote for Chairman Would Increase Public Confidence in Board

MILWAUKEE—(March 2, 2016) –  To generate more public confidence in the workings of the County Board, Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander is proposing that the County Board abandon the voice vote process for choosing the board’s officers and instead use a secret ballot to designate its leaders.


“Our citizens use a secret ballot to elect their leaders every election. Imagine the chaos if those ballots were not anonymous and a person’s choices were available for anyone—including the candidates themselves—to view,” said Supervisor Alexander. “That is how the County Board currently operates.”


“A lot of unpalatable horse trading of promises for support goes on behind the scenes when the County Board elects its leadership; but with a secret ballot process for just the chairman selection vote, our elected officials would be free to vote their conscience in a way that best suits the County, rather than out of fear or obligation,” she continued.


By voice, everyone knows which candidate everyone votes for. By secret ballot, everyone knows the result of the election, without the special knowledge of who to praise for their success – ensuring equal treatment for everyone.


Supervisor Alexander has proposed a change to the County Ordinances that would require a secret ballot to be used anytime a new Chairman, Vice Chairman, or 2nd Vice Chairman is selected.


Traditionally, the first vote of the board’s organizational meeting at the beginning of the new term is to elect leadership for the board. Supervisor Alexander is bringing the ordinance change for consideration by the entire County Board at it’s next meeting on March 17, 2016. The next vote for board leadership is scheduled for April 18, 2016.