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Beware Old Voter Registration Forms

Date: 
July 2, 2014

MADISON, WI – The Government Accountability Board cautions everyone registering voters for upcoming elections to make sure they’re using the new forms.

Many Wisconsin municipal clerks report receiving voter registrations on old forms that do not have space for newly required information about the voter’s proof of residence, said Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the G.A.B.

“State law changed on April 4, and most voters who register must now provide proof of residence,” Kennedy said. “The G.A.B. has revised the form and informed the public about the change.  Unfortunately, some organizations which register voters are still using old forms, and it is creating a lot of extra work for clerks and headaches for voters.”

G.A.B. Elections Division Administrator Michael Haas urged anyone who wants to register to vote to go online and fill out the form at MyVote.WI.gov

“When you register with MyVote, you can be sure you’re getting the right form, the right instructions and the right clerk’s office address,” Haas said.  “MyVote lets you start your voter registration online by saving your information in our system.  All you have to do is print, sign and mail the form and a copy of a valid proof of residence document to your local clerk, and you’ll be all set.  You can also drop off the application at the clerk’s office and show a copy of your proof of residence document.” 

Haas also reminded voters that MyVote.WI.gov is their best source of information for polling place locations and what will be on their ballot.

For those who need a blank printed form for voter registration drives, the current form is available on the G.A.B. website: http://gab.wi.gov/forms/gab-131-english. A fillable form is available here: http://gab.wi.gov/forms/gab-131-fillable.  Forms in Spanish and Hmong are available here: http://gab.wi.gov/forms/voters.

All electors, except those in the military and those residing overseas permanently, must provide a valid proof of residence document when registering to vote.  Under previous law, a document establishing residency was not required if an elector registered to vote more than 20 days before an election, unless they were a first-time voter in the State.

“The Legislature sought to make the proof of residence requirement consistent for voters regardless of when they register to vote,” Kennedy said.  “It is important that voters understand that they must have a valid document showing their current name and address when they register with a clerk or at a voter registration drive, or that they must submit a copy of the document when registering by mail.”  A list of acceptable proof of residence documents is available here: http://gab.wi.gov/publications/voter-guides/proof-of-residence.

Haas said some clerks are also experiencing problems with voter registration mailer forms designed by outside groups that put the proof-of-residence language in very small print.  As a result, some voters using those forms are not sending required proof of residence documents.  Clerks who receive registration forms without valid proof-of-residence documents must contact the voter to request proper documentation, which Haas said is an expensive and time-consuming process.

For more information, contact: 

Reid Magney, Public Information Officer, 608-267-7887

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