It is not an exaggeration to characterize next Tuesday’s election as one of the most significant in Wisconsin’s history. What happens on November 8th and after will have a major impact on where our state, and our nation, is headed in the years ahead. Statewide elections in Wisconsin are usually always very close and every vote matters. It is imperative that you ensure that your vote is cast correctly so that it can be counted and will reflect your values and your choices for public office and who represents us.
With that in mind, you need to know that in Wisconsin, you can currently vote one of three ways:
By Absentee Ballot By Mail (return your ballot)
By Absentee Ballot In-Person (happening now)
In-Person on Election Day (November 8th)
Make a plan to vote the best way that works for you. Here’s more helpful information about each option and other important items to note about casting your ballot.
First way to vote: Mail-in Absentee Ballot
While you have until November 3rd to request a mail-in ballot, we suggest you either vote on Election Day or “Early In-Person Vote” (see explanations below) because the likelihood of receiving and returning your ballot by the deadline are much reduced since we are now nearing Election Day, which is November 8th.
If you have not yet returned your completed mailed ballot, do so NOW! Your ballot (sealed in the official envelope with your signature and a witness’s signature and full address) needs to be returned to your clerk by Election Day! If you haven’t mailed your ballot yet, it is now far better to personally drop the ballot off at your clerk’s office. Voters should check with their municipal clerk about their options. Visit https://myvote.wi.gov to find your local clerk’s contact information and hours of operation. Track your ballot through the official ballot tracker at MyVote.
Second Way to Vote: In-person Absentee Ballot (Early Vote)
If you’d like to cast an absentee ballot in person (aka, “early vote”) before Election Day, check with your clerk for locations and times for your village / town / city. Most municipalities will wrap up early voting this Friday, November 4th. However, some municipalities will continue early vote through this weekend. Visit your municipal clerk’s website, contact your clerk, or search MyVote.wi.gov to find out about your options and opportunities to vote early.
Third Way to Vote: At your polling location on Election Day – Tuesday, November 8th
Prepare now if you’re going to vote at your polling place next week on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8th. Here are some things to help you make and execute a voting plan:
Registration: If you are not yet registered to vote, you can register to vote on Election Day at your voting location. (Find your polling place.) Being registered to vote means being registered at your current address. You need to have resided at your current address for at least 28 days prior to Election Day in order to register to vote in that election district or ward, otherwise you can vote at your previous address. You’ll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically).
Photo ID: You are required to show a specified form of photo ID before you vote. If you have a Wisconsin driver’s license or ID card, then you’re all set. Other forms of ID work too, and it’s good to check the official list of acceptable IDs at https://bringit.wi.gov to make sure you have what you need.
***Many Wisconsin DMV locations will be offering extended hours (until 6pm CT) on Monday 11/7 and/or Tuesday 11/8 to help Wisconsinites obtain the photo ID they need to vote. You can look up your nearest DMV location and hours here: https://trust.dot.state.wi.us/cscfinder/cscsearch.do
Know what’s on your ballot:
Take a look at your official ballot through MyVote before you cast your vote. Find out what offices are being elected, who is running for those offices, and important ballot referenda. Be sure to check the back of your ballot! Your voice is amplified the more local the election. So be sure to vote on everything down the ballot
Rides to the Polls:
Souls to the Polls is offering free round trip rides to the polls in Milwaukee. Call their hotline 414-742-1060. You can call now to schedule your ride ahead of time for early voting (now through 11/5) or on Election Day (Tuesday, 11/8)!
Disability Rights Wisconsin has compiled a list of agencies and counties that provide transportation for voting, with a focus on those who serve people with disabilities and older adults, including accessible transportation across the state. Many require advance notice. https://disabilityvote.org/rides-to-polls/
Students attending a university, college, or technical school in Wisconsin can find information to vote from the CC/WI webpage: Three Things College Students Need to Vote in Wisconsin.
Every eligible voter should have their voice heard and their vote counted. We expect a high voter turnout in this election and that means it will take longer to count the votes and verify a winner in this year’s election — and that’s okay! As we know, absentee ballots take longer to count because of security measures to verify the accuracy of those ballots and many voters now vote by absentee ballot. Plus, in Wisconsin, election officials cannot start counting absentee ballots until the polls open on Election Day. This means, officials can’t start processing ballots until the poll open or officials can’t start counting ballots until the polls close. Election integrity is more important than partial results reported on Election night. We need to be patient so election officials can take the time to make sure every eligible vote is counted accurately.
By taking a few minutes now to review your voting options and decide on a plan, you can make your voting experience proceed smoothly and effectively. And that will mean that your vote will be counted, and your voice will be heard. That is the foundation of American democracy and it is a right and privilege that none of us should ever take for granted.
So, take a deep breath and Get Ready, Set, VOTE!