Voters in Eau Claire and La Crosse Counties showed their support for better water protection actions and legislation by voting YES to advisory referendum questions on their spring election ballots.

In both counties the referendum question read: “Should the State of Wisconsin establish a right to clean water to protect human health, the environment, and the diverse cultural and natural heritage of Wisconsin?” Voters in Eau Claire County approved the referendum by 79%, and voters in La Crosse County approved the question by 86%.

“Approving the Clean Water Now advisory referendum in Eau Claire and La Crosse Counties should send a clear message to our state leaders that water protection must be a top priority,” said River Alliance of Wisconsin Water Advocates Organizer Johnson Bridgwater. “Wisconsin just isn’t Wisconsin without the clean water resources that are essential to healthy families and our healthy economy.”

Eau Claire and La Crosse joined more counties in demonstrating bipartisan support for making clean water protection. In the spring 2021 elections, voters in Marquette County (73%), Portage County (77%) and Wood County (76%) approved referendums. Last month, the Monroe County Board approved a resolution on the right to clean water. Also on April 5, the Adams County Land and Water Committee signed off on a Clean Water Now resolution to send to their full county board for approval to add to county ballots in November. More counties are lining up to add the question to ballots this fall.

Unlike ballot initiatives, the Clean Water Now referendum questions are advisory, or a way for voters to agree or disagree with a statement on their ballots. Counties send referendum results to Governor Evers, the Wisconsin Counties Association, and state legislators. Elected officials can look to advisory referendums to gauge support for future public policies.

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