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A week later, La Crosse has a full school board, after counting nearly 9,900 write-in votes



A week after the spring elections wrapped up, the La Crosse School District has finished counting write-in ballots.


Tim Alberts and Adam Manka, who were both on the ballot, were elected to the school board, along with write-in canidate Jim Bagniewski.

Alberts recieved 29 percent (6,143) of the 20,159 votes cast, while Manka got 22 percent (4,479).

Write-in candidates amounted to 48 percent of the vote, with Bagniewski getting 3,219 of those.

The other registered write-ins came in this order:

  • Jim Bagnewski 3,219
  • Jeremiah Galvan 2,544
  • Kevin Lee 1,978
  • Amber Peterson 914
  • Jake Williams 779
  • Mike Richmond 584
  • Kathi Blanchard 154

A three-person canvass board counted the nearly 9,900 write-ins.


The write-ins included one vote Ozzy Osborn, a vote for both Donald and Don Duck, votes for Tony Evers, Joe Biden and Joe Bideniewski, plus three votes for Donald Trump.

The panel had to decipher some of the write-in names, which took time, allowing misspellings to count as long as who they were voting for was clear.

Turnout in the spring elections for La Crosse County as 34.5 percent.

School board members serve three-year terms.

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  1. Walden

    April 9, 2024 at 11:52 pm

    To summarize 1) early voters forfeited the chance to consider the full slate of candidates. 2) It took a full week to learn the outcome.

    Sorta runs counter to the conventional (media) storyline about the robustness of voting controls and the benefits of early voting.

    Congrats to the winners, though. You will have a very difficult job working within a very dysfunctional group hamstrung by processes put in place to keep the Board of Education from meaningful oversight of the District.

    • Rick Solem

      April 9, 2024 at 11:57 pm

      Early voting started March 19. Candidate papers needed to be returned January 2. The election period ended April 2. All votes are canvassed a week later — not just school board. The results from April 2 were “preliminary.” And the school board election was unique in that, as stated, 9,900 write-in votes had to be read and counted by three people.

      • Walden

        April 10, 2024 at 10:41 am

        I believe your timeline is correct, meaning early voters did not have knowledge of all the write in candidates, some of whom were only able to get their thoughts out a week or so before April 2.

        The April 2 results were not “preliminary”…they were incomplete; in this case that is not merely semantics.

        If the County Clerk is responsible for holding elections, why is the School Board counting votes in its own election? Does this mean ballots are turned over to the School Board? And why is the School Board “clerk” (I am not sure there is any such official position) who happens to be the wife of the local Democratic Party Chair a vote counter? This is highly unusual.

        And yes, the election was unique…that could be said of every election.

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