MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s spring election is right around the corner.
Here are some important things to note ahead of election day on April 5, per the Wisconsin Elections Commision.
1. Check with your municipal clerk regarding rules for returning an absentee ballot.
A Waukesha County Circuit Court judge issued an order where the WEC withdrew two of its memos and other references regarding drop boxes and notified Wisconsin’s County and Municipal Clerks that it withdrew the memos and to disregard any other WEC materials contradicting the court’s order.
Per the WEC, the order states:
- “An elector must personally mail or deliver his or her own absentee ballot, except where the law explicitly authorizes an agent to act on an elector’s behalf.”
- “The only lawful methods for casting an absentee ballot pursuant to [the order] are for the elector to place the envelope containing the ballot in the mail or for the elector to deliver the ballot in person to the municipal clerk.
- “The use of drop boxes, as described in the Memos, is not permitted under Wisconsin law unless the drop box is staffed by the clerk and located at the office of the clerk or a properly designated alternate site under [the order].
2. Voters who received their absentee ballot by mail should make plans to return it to their clerk’s office as soon as possible.
The U.S. Postal Service advises it can take up to one week for mail to be delivered, so voters who still need to return absentee ballots should drop them off at their municipal clerk’s office as soon as possible.
On Election Day, most voters may deliver their absentee ballots directly to their normal polling place, but it must arrive before polls close at 8 p.m. Voters in cities, villages or towns that count absentee ballots at a central location must return ballots to their clerk’s office or the central count location.
Voters who plan to return their absentee ballot to their clerk’s office should do so as early as possible because the ballot must be picked up from there and delivered to the polling place by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Any voter who has not returned their absentee ballot is still eligible to vote in person on Election Day.
3. The last day for municipal clerks to offer in person absentee voting is Sunday, April 3.
However, municipalities may end in person absentee voting before that date, so check with your municipal clerk. To learn where and when you can vote absentee in person in your municipality, visit https://MyVote.WI.gov.
In some smaller communities, voters may need to make appointments with their municipal clerk’s office.
4. You need an acceptable photo ID to vote, but your ID for voting does not need to show your current address or have a star on it.
Your acceptable photo ID for voting does not need to show your current address. Most voters already have the photo ID they need to vote, such as a Wisconsin driver license or ID and anyone with questions should visit the Bring It to the Ballot website (https://bringit.wi.gov) or call 1-866-VOTE-WIS for information.
Voters without an acceptable photo ID can get one for free with one visit to their local Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles office. For more information, call 608-266-1069. Voters without supporting documents needed to obtain an ID, such as a birth certificate, can also visit their local DMV office and apply. The DMV offers an ID Petition Process where it will verify the voter’s identity and issue them a voting-compliant state ID card even if they do not have all the necessary supporting documents.
Voters over the age of 60 who use a Wisconsin driver license do not need to worry if they have not been able to renew their ID due to the pandemic. The DMV has extended the expiration date for people 60 and over whose driver license expired after March 12, 2020, until May 21, 2021.
5. Voters can find their polling place on the mobile-friendly MyVote Wisconsin website.
Your polling place may have changed from the location you voted at previously. The Wisconsin Elections Commission’s MyVote Wisconsin website, https://myvote.wi.gov, allows you to verify your polling place and provides directions to every polling place in the state, as well as information about what will be on voters’ ballots when they get there.
Voters can also check whether their registration is current. If it’s not, they can start the voter registration process online, print their filled-out voter registration form and bring it to the polls with them on Election Day so they can sign it in front of a poll worker. Voters can also complete a paper registration form at their polling place on Election Day.
If you are registering to vote, remember you will need to show a proof of residence document with your current name and address on it. Proof of residence can be a government document, like a Wisconsin ID card, or a document like a bank statement or utility bill. You can show your proof of residence document either in paper form, or electronically on your phone or mobile device.
For details, check out the Voter Registration Guide: https://elections.wi.gov/voters/first-time-registration-guide.
6. Your vote is secure.
Wisconsin’s election systems are secure because of theWEC’s partnerships with federal and state agencies and local election officials.
The WEC has found no evidence that Wisconsin’s election systems have ever been compromised.
Voters with questions about election security can visit https://elections.wi.gov/elections-voting/security and https://elections.wi.gov/absentee.
7. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5.
Turnout for a Spring Election in April is typically about 20% to 25% of voting-age adults. This does not include the years with Presidential Preference Primaries when the turnout typically spikes higher.
More information about voter turnout is available at https://elections.wi.gov/elections-voting/statistics.