The Primaries Are Coming!

The Wisconsin 2018 Partisan Primary will be held statewide on Tuesday, August 14th.  Election sites will be open starting at 7 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m. Results will determine the final candidates for the General Election on Tuesday, November 6th.

On the ballot will be Candidates for Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, odd-numbered Wisconsin State Senate seats, and all (yes, all!) Wisconsin Assembly seats.

“Fun” Fact:  In Wisconsin Primary elections you are only allowed to vote for one (1) party’s candidates.  Known as a Partisan Primary, it has been the rule since 1905 #thanksObama and electronic machines will throw out ballots that have crossover votes.  However, if you accidentally cross the streams, you are allowed to ask a poll worker for a new ballot up to three (3) times.

Where To Vote

You can’t just vote willy nilly anywhere you please, like some sort of William Nilly.  You need to vote at the polling place assigned to you based on your address. Even if you drive past a polling place every election, that still may not be where you need to go, and there’s nothing worse than standing in line at a polling place and finding out that you’re in the wrong location.  Speaking from experience.

Easiest thing to do is visit myvote.wi.gov, enter your address, and the site will provide you your location, their hours, and directions via Google Maps.  It will also include a sample ballot, which is always handy to have.

Voter Registration

You can’t dance until you learn the steps, and you can’t vote until you’re registered.  Fortunately there are a variety of ways to become a registered voter in Wisconsin.

Eligibility

First, you have to be Eligible to vote.  If you’re not now, bookmark this article for when you will be.  You must be:

  • 18 years old or older on Election Day (August 14th in this case)
  • A United States citizen
  • Living in your voting area for 28 days before the election, with no intent of moving
  • Not CURRENTLY incarcerated, on parole, or on probation for a felony conviction

How To Register

  • By Mail
    • Complete form EL-131 (available at elections.wi.gov/forms) and mail to your local municipal clerk, along with proof of residency
    • Must be postmarked no later than 20 days before the election (so something to save for future voters)
  • Online
  • In Person, Before Election Day
    • Register with your local municipal clerk prior to 5 p.m. (or close of business) the Friday before the election (August 10)
  • Calling Your Mother
    • She can’t register you, but hearing from you would make her day.  Text her at least.
  • In Person, Election Day
    • In Wisconsin you can register at your polling place on Election Day.  You will need to bring your Photo ID as well as proof of residency. Proof can include a paycheck, utility bill, bank statement, or mobile phone bill that includes your name and has been issued to your current Wisconsin address in the past 90 days.  Your valid Wisconsin hunting or fishing license will also suffice. More examples at wisconsindot.gov

Acceptable Photo ID

Currently, Wisconsin requires that you provide an eligible Photo ID at your Polling Place to be considered an eligible voter.  Good news, there are as many acceptable forms of Photo ID as there are Democratic candidates in the Gubernatorial race. Maybe more!  They include, but are not limited to:

  • A Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) Drivers License (even if License has been revoked or suspended)
  • Wisconsin DOT ID card
  • Military ID card issued by the U.S. Uniformed Services
  • U.S. Passport Book or Card
  • A Certificate of Naturalization (that is less than 2 years old)
  • An ID card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin
  • Photo ID issued by a Wisconsin accredited University, College, or technical college
    • Must include date the card was issued, signature of student, and expiration date no later than two years after date of issuance
    • ID must ALSO be accompanied by a separate document that proves enrollment
      • Ex: Tuition fee receipt, Enrollment verification letter, or class schedule

“Fun” Fact: Your Photo ID does not need to include your current address, and the name on the ID doesn’t need to be an exact match for your name in the poll book (Good news for the Edwards that go by Teddy, Margarets that go by Peggy, and the Charlies that go by Trundle)

More acceptable proof can be found at bringit.wi.gov (a handy resource with just the right amount of sass)

Unacceptable Photo ID

Not everything with your name and/or picture on it is considered acceptable proof under Wisconsin law.  If your ID isn’t on the list above, bringit.wi.gov is a great place to double check.

IDs that are not acceptable:

  • State or Federal Government Employee ID
  • Out of State driver license or ID card
  • Employment ID
  • Membership or Organization ID (sorry Water Buffalo Brothers)

Educate Yourself

When I was in Middle School we had a mock election and I didn’t really care about any of the candidates, so I just picked the one that had the same last name as a friend from school.  I told my Dad who I voted for and he replied “Really? He’s basically a Nazi.” That was a good lesson about doing even a small bit of research before choosing a candidate.

Don’t say you don’t have time.  I’ve seen you. You’ve spent 3 hours reading the breakdowns of the first Packers Exhibition Game, 2 hours reading articles about the next Avengers movie, and an hour trying to decide what to try on Netflix.  You can spend an hour over the next few days to educate yourself.

Good resources include:

Vote411.org

Votesmart.org (you’ll need to enter the names of each candidate)

Ballotpedia.org

Your local newspaper

We hope you find this information useful, and that you have a pleasant voting experience!

“Fun” Fact:  Wisconsin State Statute 6.76 gives you the RIGHT to leave work to vote

  • You must inform your employer at least a day in advance (Monday, August 13th at the latest)
  • You are entitled to up to three (3) hours of unpaid time to vote
  • Your employer can set the time for you to leave

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