Names are set on local April 7 ballots.

That doesn’t mean it’s too late to register as a write-in candidate.

In this space early in 2018, we lamented that there were no contested spring races in the Cambridge-Deerfield area.

In most cases in 2018, longtime incumbents were running unopposed, and were guaranteed to retake their seats for another two or three years.

There is a case to be made for some members of a board remaining in place over time; that lends stability.

But in our view, the more candidates the better in any kind of race including school boards, village boards and town boards.

Having contested races on the local ballot spurs a conversation about issues in formal settings like candidate forums and in the newspaper, and in less formal conversations in coffee shops, taverns and on the street.

These are conversations we need to have for our communities and school districts to move forward well.

This spring, we’re heartened to see contested local races for the Dane County Board and Cambridge School Board. That means we have a few community members who are engaged enough to willingly step into the often thankless local political fray.

We particularly saw the results of a write-in candidacy in Deerfield in 2019.

If anything was demonstrated by last year’s Deerfield School Board race, in which a write-in candidate beat out a longtime incumbent, it’s that anything is possible.

Now, as the 2020 election approaches, we’ve been further encouraged to see new candidates step up to fill several upcoming holes on the Cambridge Village Board, as longtime board members step away.

And we’re excited about the direction Cambridge School Board and Dane County Board candidates might shake up the local political scene.

If you had contemplated running for local office this spring but missed the deadline to have your name officially listed on the ballot, it’s not too late.

According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, registered write-in candidate must file a campaign registration statement with their local clerk by 12 p.m. the Friday before the election. Those clerks would be at the village, town or school district office, or the Dane County Clerk’s Office.

This year, that write-in deadline is Friday, April 3 at noon.

The link to the commission’s Campaign Registration Statement is at: https://elections.wi.gov/node/4315.

There’s lot going on in our small communities and school districts, and in Dane County.

We need local public officials who are able to make hard decisions, who can articulate and follow through on visions, who can budget judiciously, and who can put what’s best for their community before their own interests.

If that sounds like you, there’s still time to step in. We hope to see you there.

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