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Top 10 Things a Wisconsin Voter Should Know for Election Day

Date: 
October 27, 2010

MADISON, WI – The Government Accountability Board today released its list of the top 10 things a Wisconsin voter should know for Election Day, Tuesday, November 2.

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. 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.

Number two on the list is that voters can check their registration status with their municipal clerk, or on the state’s Voter Public Access website: https://vpa.wi.gov.

Elections Division Administrator Nat Robinson encouraged registered voters to double-check their registration online. The site allows voters to look up their voter registration information, sample ballot information and polling place locations.
“Voter Public Access is very handy, and connects directly to the data in the Statewide Voter Registration System,” Robinson said. “If you don’t find your registration information, call the municipal clerk’s office and make sure you’re ready for Tuesday. But if you are not on the list, don’t worry. You can still register on Election Day at the polling place.”

Third on the list, voters should know that they can go online to file a complaint or leave a comment if they witness problems at the polling place.

“If you see voter fraud, voter intimidation, electioneering or misconduct by election officials, we want to hear about it,” said Kennedy. “Voters can go online and report problems at http://gab.wi.gov/complaints, or they can call 1-866-VOTE-WIS. You can report problems to your municipal clerk, your local police department or district attorney’s office.”

The remainder of the Top 10 things a voter should know are:

4. Election observers are welcome in Wisconsin: Election observers are welcome at every polling place, but they must follow the instructions of the chief election inspector, and may not interact with voters. 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. Ballot mistakes are not fatal: If you make a mistake when voting, you may ask for a new paper ballot, up to a total of three. In the case of touch-screen voting equipment, the voter will be able to review ballot choices before affirming the final vote.

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? A photo ID is not required of voters at the polling place on Election Day, but the driver’s license number is necessary to register to vote or to prove residency when registering on Election Day if the address on the license is current.

9. Rules for challenging a voter: There are specific criteria and limitations on challenging a person’s eligibility to vote. The chief election inspector can explain the challenge process and provide the voter and the challenger with explanatory documents.

10. Straight Party Ticket: A voter may cast a ballot for a “straight party ticket” by marking an area at the top of the ballot to indicate a preference for all candidates for one political party. However, if the voter checks “Party A” at the top (straight party) and chooses “Party Z” candidate for State Assembly, the choice for Party Z’s State Assembly candidate will be counted along with all the other candidates for Party A.

For more information, contact: 

Reid Magney, public information officer, 608-267-7887

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