Madison voters will pick their local leaders today, as candidates face off in elections for Dane County Board and Madison City Council.

Student issues such as tenants? rights, alcohol regulation and affordable housing have highlighted the campaigns in the city District 5 and county District 5 races — the only two heavily student-populated districts with contested elections.

Ald. Tom Powell, who holds the interim position in District 5, is challenged by Ron Rosner in the city?s special election. The special election was called to fill the seat vacated by Jessy Tolkan last spring when she stepped down, and an agreement was made for Powell to take the position until this year?s special election.

At the county level, two-term incumbent Echnaton Vedder faces challenger Ion Skillrud for the District 5 County Supervisor position. Both candidates are UW-Madison students who say they want to increase student influence in county government.

County Clerk Joe Parisi told the Capital Times he expects no more than 20 percent of voters in Dane County to turn out for the elections because none of the races are particularly high profile.

“There are no mayoral or statewide races that would draw a lot of voters to the polls,” Parisi said.

But all four candidates in student districts have noted that student votes are important to ensure student input in local government.

To find out where to vote, visit the city website at ci.madison.wi.us/clerk/ and click on the link “Where do I vote?” Voters can also call the City Clerk?s office at 266-4601 or the County Clerk?s office at 266-4111 to find polling locations.

Madison residents need only live in their district for 10 days to be eligible to vote, and any eligible voter can register at the polls by bringing proof of residency, like a piece of mail or residential lease.

City Election, District 5 info boxes

Tom Powell, incumbent

Profession: Research assistant for state Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, graduate student at UW-Madison

Personal: Single, Dane County Supervisor since 1998, has lived in district for 5 years, Madison City Council since 2001

Stance on issues: Wants to increase prosecution of tenants’ rights violations oSupports student-renter protection oWants to balance students? concerns with those of other residents in district

Ron Rosner

Profession: Retired, former director of tax policy for State Department of Revenue

Personal: Married, has lived in district for 32 years

Stance on issues: Supports improved living conditions oWants creative solutions to binge-drinking oWants to balance students? concerns with those of other residents

County Election, District 5 info boxes

Echnaton Vedder, incumbent

Profession: UW-Madison student, majoring in botany, cab driver

Personal: Single, has lived in the district for almost 6 years, served on County Board for past 2 terms

Stance on issues: Supports fair-housing and affordable-housing laws o Supports environmental conservation oSupports mass transit options including commuter rail

Ion Skillrud

Profession: UW-Madison student, business major, serves on the Inter-Fraternity Council

Personal: Single, born and raised in Dane County

Stance on issues: Supports county economic development oSupports affordable housing through market-based approach oOpposes funding commuter rail as long as Madison Metro loses money