MADISON, WI – The Government Accountability Board today released its list of the top 10 things Wisconsin voters should know for Primary Election Day, Tuesday, August 14.
The number one thing voters should know is that they can register at the polling place on Election Day.
“Election Day registration ensures that everyone who is qualified to vote will get to vote,” said Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the G.A.B. “Unlike many other states, Wisconsin has registration at the polls, so very few voters will likely be forced to vote on a provisional ballot.”
To register on Election Day, Wisconsin voters must provide proof of residence, which includes a current utility bill, lease, university ID card or other official document showing the voter’s name and current address. For a list of acceptable documents, visit the G.A.B. website. You must be a resident of your ward for 28 consecutive days to register, but the document does not need to be 28 days old. Voters who have a valid Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID card will be required to use their license number to complete the registration form. Otherwise, they may use the last four digits of their Social Security number.
Voters who may not be sure whether their registration is current can check their status with their municipal clerk, or on the state’s Voter Public Access website: https://vpa.wi.gov.
Number two on the list is that voters may only vote for candidates of one party in the primary.
Elections Division Administrator Nat Robinson said electronic voting equipment is programmed to reject a ballot with crossover votes. “If you make a mistake when voting, you may ask for a new paper ballot, up to a total of three, Robinson said. “In the case of touch-screen voting equipment, the voter will be able to review ballot choices before affirming the final vote.”
Third on the list, voters should know what to do if they witness problems at the polling place.
“If you see voter fraud, voter intimidation, electioneering or misconduct by election officials, your first point of contact should be the Chief Election Inspector at the polling place,” said Kennedy. “Most concerns can be resolved then and there, but if that doesn’t work, contact your municipal clerk’s office or local law enforcement.”
Complaints or issues that are not resolved to the voter’s satisfaction should be reported to the G.A.B. Voters can go online and report problems at http://gab.wi.gov/complaints, or they can call 1-866-VOTE-WIS.
The remainder of the Top 10 things a voter should know are:
4. Election observers must follow the rules: Election observers are welcome at every polling place, but they must obey the instructions of the chief election inspector, and may not interact with voters. Observers who disobey will be asked to leave, and may not observe at other polling places on Election Day. Rules for election observers are available at the polling place and on the G.A.B. website: http://gab.wi.gov/clerks/education-training/election-observers
5. Rules for challenging a voter: Only Wisconsin electors may challenge another voter’s eligibility, and there are specific criteria and limitations on challenges. The chief election inspector can explain the challenge process and provide the voter and the challenger with explanatory documents. See http://gab.wi.gov/rights for details.
6. Leave political items at home: Voters are asked not to wear political clothing or paraphernalia to the polling place on Election Day. The chief election inspector may ask voters to leave the polling place if they are judged to be electioneering or creating a disturbance.
7. Get in line before the polls close: Voters standing in line waiting to vote when the polling place closes at 8 p.m. on Election Day will be permitted to vote.
8. Photo ID required? Due to a court injunction, a photo ID is not required of voters at the polling place on Election Day. However, if you have a driver license or state ID with a current address, you may use it to prove residency when registering on Election Day only if your current address is listed on your driver license or state ID, and you must provide the license or ID number.
9. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day: If you had an absentee ballot mailed to you, it must be postmarked by Election Day and must be received in your municipal clerk’s office by 4 p.m. the Friday after the election.
10. Consider becoming a poll worker: Many Wisconsin cities, villages and towns need more civic-minded people to help out on Election Day. When you go to vote, take a look around see if it’s something you’d like to do. Many places offer split shifts if you can’t work the entire day. Contact your local municipal clerk’s office for more information.
Reid Magney, public information officer, 608-267-7887
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