With the July primary elections behind us, the League of Women Voters encourages every eligible citizen in the Senate recall and Assembly special election districts to take the time to vote.
• August 9 - recall elections in Senate Districts 2, 8, 10, 14, 18, 32 and special election in Assembly District 48 (seat vacated by Joe Parisi)
• August 16 – recall elections in Senate Districts 12 and 22
“Elections matter. They determine who will make the policy decisions that affect our everyday lives, whether it’s about citizen rights, healthcare coverage, financing of public education or preservation of our natural resources. If you don’t vote, you let other people call the shots,” said Andrea Kaminski, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund.
With a new election law partially implemented, the League offers the following tips about what voters can expect at the polls this month: New procedures in this month’s recall and special elections
1. You will be asked to show an official photo ID, although you are not required to do so to obtain a regular ballot this summer. Voters who do not have an official ID will receive information about what kind of ID will be required for voting beginning in 2012.
2. The new election law requires a citizen to be a resident of a voting district for at least 28 consecutive days prior to the election in order to vote in that district. Registered voters who have moved more recently may vote in their old district. Under the new state law, citizens no longer may use corroboration by a neighbor or relative to establish residency.
3. The new law has shortened the period when citizens may cast an absentee vote in their municipal clerk’s office. It is now a two-week period that ends at the close of business on the Friday before the election. For districts with a recall election on August 9, the in-person absentee voting period ends this Friday, August 5. For districts with a recall election on August 16, the deadline is Friday, August 12.
4. Voters will be required to sign the poll book in order to get a ballot. This may result in longer lines, but it is worth the extra time to make sure you have a voice in this election. There is an exception for voters with a physical disability.
What has not changed
1. You do not have to show an official ID to vote in this election.
2. You may register to vote at your polling place on Election Day. Under federal and state law, when registering to vote, you must prove who you are and where you live. To register, you will have to supply a Wisconsin driver license number or Wisconsin state ID card number. If you have not been issued one of these IDs, you may use the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you have never been issued any of these numbers, you will be assigned a unique voter number. To prove your residency in the voting district, a Wisconsin driver license or Wisconsin ID card with your current address is acceptable, as are several other specific official documents. Your proof of residency will have to show that you have lived there at least 28 days.
Citizens can check their voter registration status, polling place, election dates and a sample ballot on the Government Accountability Board’s Voter Public Access website (https://vpa.wi.gov/). Read the candidates’ answers to key public policy questions in the League’s nonpartisan Candidates Answers Voter Guide on the League’s website (www.lwvwi.org).
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that promotes informed and active participation in government. There are 16 local Leagues in Wisconsin. The LWVWI Education Fund is a proud member of Community Shares of Wisconsin.