G.A.B.: Top 10 things voters should know ahead of Election Day Tuesday

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Government Accountability Board has released its list of the top 10 things Wisconsin voters should know for Election Day -- Tuesday, November 4th.

The number one thing voters should know is where to vote and whether they’re currently registered.

“Wisconsin voters can find the most accurate information about voting at MyVote.wi.gov, including where their polling place is and whether their registration is current,” said Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the G.A.B.  “If you’re not sure, take a few minutes to visit the My Vote Wisconsin website. It could save you time and headaches on Election Day.”

My Vote Wisconsin also has sample ballots so voters can familiarize themselves with their choices before they arrive in the voting booth.

People who do not have internet access can check their status with their municipal clerk’s office.

Number two is that a photo ID is not required for voters to receive a ballot. 

“The U.S. Supreme Court has put Wisconsin’s voter photo ID law on hold for this election,” Kennedy said. “Registered voters are still required to sign their name on the poll list, in addition to providing their name and address, to receive a ballot, but they do not have to show a photo ID to receive their ballot.”

Third on the list – voters can register at the polling place on Election Day.

“If you check My Vote Wisconsin and find you’re not registered, don’t panic,” Kennedy said. “Election Day registration ensures that everyone who is qualified to vote will get to vote.  Wisconsin, unlike many other states, has had registration at the polls since 1976, so very few voters will likely be forced to vote on a provisional ballot.”

To register on Election Day, Wisconsin voters must provide a proof of residence document. It can be a driver license or state ID card with the voter’s current address. It can also be a current utility bill, lease, university ID card or other official document showing the voter’s name and current address.  For a list of acceptable documents, visit the G.A.B. website. You must be a resident of your ward for 28 consecutive days to register, but the document does not need to be 28 days old. Voters who have a valid Wisconsin driver license will be required to use their license number to complete the registration form.  Otherwise, they may use a state ID card number or last four digits of their Social Security number. 

Fourth, voters should know what to do if they witness problems at the polling place. 

“If you see voter fraud, voter intimidation, electioneering or misconduct by election officials, your first point of contact should be the Chief Election Inspector at the polling place,” said Elections Division Administrator Michael Haas.  “Most concerns can be resolved then and there, but if that doesn’t work, contact your municipal clerk’s office or local law enforcement.”

Complaints or issues that are not resolved to the voter’s satisfaction should be reported to the G.A.B. Voters can go online and report problems at http://gab.wi.gov/complaints, or they can call 1-866-VOTE-WIS.  Haas noted that the G.A.B. will be open extended hours on Election Day to assist voters Phones will be answered from 6 a.m. to midnight on Election Day.

The remaining Top 10 things a voter should know are: 

Election observers must follow the rules: Election observers are welcome at every polling place, but they must obey the instructions of the chief election inspector, and may not interact with voters. Only Wisconsin electors may challenge another voter’s eligibility, and there are specific criteria and limitations on challenges. Observers who disobey will be asked to leave, and may not observe at other polling places on Election Day. 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

Time off to vote: Under state law, a voter can request up to three hours of unpaid time off to vote on Election Day. However, the request for time off must be made in advance to give the employer time to adjust work schedules.

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 remove or cover up political items, or to leave the polling place if they are judged to be electioneering or creating a disturbance.

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.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day: If you had an absentee ballot mailed to you, it must be postmarked by Election Day and must be received in your municipal clerk’s office by 4 p.m. the Friday after the election.

No straight-party voting: In 2011, the Legislature changed the law to eliminate straight-party voting in Wisconsin. That means voters can no longer make one mark on the ballot to cast votes for every candidate belonging to a particular party. Voters must vote for each office on the ballot separately. 

Voter tools available online, courtesy of the Government Accountability Board: