Wisconsin’s spring election is Tuesday with hundreds of candidates on ballots across the state for school boards, city councils, county boards and judgeships — along with referenda for funding government services such as schools and public safety.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If voters are waiting in line at 8 p.m. they should remain in line as they’ll still be able to vote.
Rule changes for voting this year stem in part from lawsuits prompted by proponents of Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
The most significant change is how absentee ballots can be returned after a Waukesha County judge barred the use of absentee ballot drop boxes and prevented people from returning someone else’s ballot.
The U.S. Postal Service says it can take up to one week for mail to be delivered, so voters who plan on voting absentee shouldn’t drop their ballot in the mail. But because the Waukesha court order prevents drop boxes from being used, most voters should instead return their ballot in-person to their polling place. Absentee ballots can also be delivered to the municipal clerk’s office, but the Wisconsin Elections Commission advises that this be done earlier in the day because election staff will need to pick the ballot up and bring it to the polling place by the time polls close at 8 p.m.
In cities that count ballots at a central location, absentee ballots should be returned to the clerk’s office or the central count location. There are 39 central count municipalities in the state, including Milwaukee. Central count information was included with the ballots when they were mailed for voters who live in those municipalities.
Voters can find their polling place at the MyVote Wisconsin website.
People who are not registered to vote can register at their polling place on Election Day but they will need to provide a proof of residence document with their current name and address on it. Proof of residence could be an ID, bank statement or utility bill.
An acceptable photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state ID, is required to cast a ballot. Other valid forms of ID include those issued by U.S. military services; U.S. passports; identification provided by a federally recognized Native American tribe in Wisconsin or identification issued by a Wisconsin university or college as long as it contains a date of issuance, student signature and an expiration date no later than two years after it was issued.
Some forms of ID, including driver’s licenses and student IDs, are valid even if they’re expired as long as the expiration occurred after the November 3, 2020 general election.
Finally, after a year and a half of allegations of election fraud from state Republicans, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) has reiterated that Wisconsin’s elections are safe and secure.
“Wisconsin’s election systems are secure thanks to the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s strong partnerships with federal and state agencies and local election officials,” voter guidance from the WEC states. “The WEC has found no evidence that Wisconsin’s election systems have ever been compromised. The WEC has taken extraordinary steps to ensure that voter registration and vote counting systems are secure and have many redundancies to protect and backup all voter data. Rumors and misleading information about election security are prevalent. Voters should ensure that they are getting the facts about elections from official sources – your local and state election officials.”
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