by Senator Howard Marklein
October 9, 2020
In less than a month, we will vote. Or, if you’re like me, you already have. Either way, the November 3, 2020 election day is upon us and it is your civic duty to cast your ballot to elect our next President, Vice President and legislators. Are you ready?
I already returned my Absentee Ballot to the Town of Spring Green for the election. I have routinely voted by Absentee for most elections.
You can still vote by Absentee Ballot if you do not want to vote in person at the polls on Election Day. If you would like to have an absentee ballot mailed to you, your deadline to request the ballot from your municipal clerk is October 29, 2020 at 5 p.m. As of this writing, your deadline to return the ballot is November 3, 2020 at 8 p.m. (election day). However, there is a court case pending to extend this deadline. But frankly – why wait? Get it in.
You may also vote In-Person Absentee. This is also called Early Voting. In this case, you visit your municipal clerk October 20 – November 1, 2020 and fill-out an absentee ballot in their presence and hand it to them. This vote is counted when all of the absentee ballots are counted on election day, but you do not need to rely on the mail to receive or return it.
Finally, you can vote in person on election day, November 3, 2020. The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. However, anyone who is in line to vote at 8 p.m. must be allowed to cast a ballot.
If you have never voted before, have legally changed your name or have moved, you will need to register to vote or update your voter registration. You can do this now! You do not have to wait until election day. You can register by mail, online, at your municipal clerk’s office or at your polling place on election day.
The following instructions are directly from the Wisconsin Elections Commission:
By mail. Up to 20 days before the election. Registration forms should be mailed to your municipal clerk. You can start your voter registration form online at http://myvote.wi.gov. Your form must be printed, signed, and mailed or delivered, to your municipal clerk. You must always provide a Proof of Residence document when registering. If you are registering by mail, you can use any of the forms of Proof of residence except a residential lease.
Online. Up to 20 days before the election. Voters who have a valid State of Wisconsin Driver License or State of Wisconsin ID card issued by the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can register to vote online on the MyVote Wisconsin website: http://myvote.wi.gov. To register online, the voter must enter a name, date of birth, Driver License, or ID number, and an address that matches what is on file with the Wisconsin DMV. If all of the fields match, the voter will be able to register to vote completely online without needing to print, sign, or mail the form and without needing to send a proof of residence document. Voters who are not able to match their information with the information in the DMV database will be given the option to register by mail (see instructions above).
In the municipal clerk’s office. You may register in-person in your municipal clerk’s office up until the Friday before the election at 5:00 p.m. or close of business, whichever is later. You must always provide a Proof of Residence document when registering to vote.
At the polling place on Election Day. You may register at the polls on Election Day. You must always provide a Proof of Residence document when registering to vote.
A proof of residence document includes a current and valid State of Wisconsin Driver License or State ID card, identification issued by a governmental body, an employer ID, a real estate tax bill, university, college or technical college ID, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or stub, a check issued by a unit of government, a residential lease and an intake document from a residential care facility, among a couple of other examples. It must be something official and not a sales promotion, magazine or other item that cannot verify your residency.
Visit www.myvote.wi.gov to check your voter registration status, request an absentee ballot, upload your ID, view the ballot in your community and learn more about the voting process.
No matter how you decide to vote this year, don’t wait until the last minute to check your status, update your records and/or make a plan to cast your ballot. You have plenty of time to research and execute your vote in this very important election.
As always, please do not hesitate to connect with me to provide input, ideas or to seek assistance. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-266-0703.