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Reports coming from the spring primary election that took place last week include the fact that voter turnout in the city of Columbus was 19.4 percent. For a spring primary, that’s a very good level of community participation in the election process. With three elections on the schedule in 2018, the expectation would be that the polls in our community will be active this year.

Did any of you utilize the ExpressVote machine when you cast your ballot? The ExpressVote machine is a recent investment by the city that makes voting easier. While it is particularly useful for those who are visually or hearing impaired, it is an option for every eligible voter. If you have followed the news recently, there is a constant amount of scrutiny and focus on ensuring our elections are managed in a fair and accessible manner. City Clerk Megan Moen and her poll workers can tell you how often federal and state-mandated changes cause them to stay on their toes to make adjustments, almost on the fly with regard to the current rules. The ExpressVote machine is a result of some of those rules. I would note that the traditional paper ballot is still an option for you, but you might want to consider talking to the helpful and friendly poll workers about using the ExpressVote machine in upcoming elections: the spring general election (April 3), the fall primary (Aug. 14) and the fall general election (Nov. 6).

Further information on the ExpressVote machine and other important things to note on voting are future topics for the city’s “Columbus 980” news program. Keep an eye out for that and feel free to follow up with questions on the election process with the city clerk’s office at City Hall.

If you’re really interested in elections…have you ever wanted to be a poll worker? Now is the time to get in there and contribute to this important civic process. The city clerk’s office is seeking individuals who live in the city of Columbus to serve as poll workers. The city offers paid training and a competitive wage. Please contact City Clerk Megan Moen or Deputy Clerk Pat Goebel for information.

Now that we’ve hit on election season for the year, before I go I want to also hit on another upcoming season: Orange Barrel season. Most of us are eagerly awaiting the start of spring and with that comes street work. A reminder to all that Columbus will see three main projects in the city in 2018. Two projects are being managed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation – the completion of the Highway 16/60 work at the 151 underpass (which is expected to start next week), and a repaving of a stretch of Park Avenue (State Highway 73), from Faith Drive going out to Heritage Drive. The city project is work that will address sorely needed street and utility improvements on E. School Street (from S. Ludington St to Waterloo Street) and S. Water Street (from E. James to E. School). As all street and utility work brings some travel adjustments and inconvenience, this year’s projects should not scratch the surface of what we dealt with last year with James Street.

For information on the 2018 street projects in Columbus, I offer you two options—send me an email (see address below) with your own email address for updates on the City Street project, and to sign up for “Email Alerts” on the city’s website for information and updates which are also sent to your email. On the Alert Center page, scroll down to “Roadwork” and click the item, follow the instructions to sign up.

See you at the polls or on the roads…

If you have any questions on this or any other issue before city government, please contact me down at City Hall at 623-5900 or via email at pvandersanden@

Patrick Vander Sanden is Columbus City Administrator.