Wisconsin election officials urge absentee voting
March 27, 2020
By RICHARD JENKINS
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Election Commission is urging the state’s voters to consider casting their votes in next month’s election via absentee ballot as a means of preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
“If you are worried about getting to the polls on Election Day, make sure you are registered to vote at your current address and with your current name and request an absentee ballot as soon as possible,” said Meagan Wolfe, the state’s chief elections official.
The April 7 election features a variety of federal, state and local races on the ballot — including Wisconsin’s presidential primaries, the election to fill Sean Duffy’s 7th District congressional seat, Iron County Board races, Hurley and Mercer school board races, and other city and town races.
There are several ways to request an absentee ballot. Those with internet access can sign up at MyVote Wisconsin’s website, myvote.wi.gov, and selecting the “vote absentee” button on the top of the page. Those using mobile phones can select the menu button in the website’s upper right corner, according to information from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
The website involves a three-step process, starting with entering the voter’s name and birthdate and then requesting a ballot. Those who don’t have a copy of their photo ID on file at their local clerk’s office can upload it on the site.
Voters can also request absentee ballots by mailing, emailing or faxing their city or town’s clerk.
Those who have difficulty getting to the polls for various reasons don’t have to provide a photo ID. Voters who are in care facilities can have a facility representative confirm the resident’s identity in place of providing an ID. More information on the requirements and exemptions around the photo ID can be found at bringit.wi.gov.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is April 2, however, voters are urged not to wait to avoid issues with potential mail delays.
“I can’t emphasize strongly enough that voters who want to make sure they can vote absentee should not wait until April 2 to request their ballots,” said Reid Magney, a spokesman with the Wisconsin Elections Commission. He told the Daily Globe that voters should request their ballots as soon as possible because it can take up to a week for the mail to deliver the ballot.
A federal judge ordered Wisconsin to reopen its voter registration last week in response to the distributions to daily lives caused by the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission said in a statement last Friday that it was working to comply with the court’s order and reopen online registration “as soon as we can make and test the changes to our systems.”
Given the order, voters can now register online until March 30.
Online voter registration is available at myvote.wi.gov, voter registrations can also be printed and filled out at elections.wi.gov/forms/el-131-fillable.
Voters can also register at their local clerk’s office until April 3, according to information from the elections commission, or at the polls on election day.
Editor’s Note: The Associated Press contributed to this story.