Wisconsin election official offers clarity on voting rules

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to prevent Wisconsin from counting mailed ballots that are received after Election Day is one of just several rules voters need to know to make sure their vote counts on Nov. 3.

Matthew Bennett stood in line to vote early at Milwaukee's Zablocki Library on Tuesday, his first time voting -- at 40 years old.

"It's pretty exciting. I feel like I'm making a difference. I don't know if I will, but I'm trying," Bennett said.

Early voting is one of the options left to make sure your vote counts. Election officials say, for practical purposes, it's too late to request an absentee ballot.

"Legally, you have until 5 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 29) to request an absentee ballot, but I tell you if you wait that long you're going to be disappointed because it's not going to get to you on time," said Reid Magney, public information officer with the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Outside the Zablocki building, other voters went a different way -- dropping off their absentee ballots in a dropbox. The first step to make sure your absentee ballot counts is to make sure it is in the right dropbox by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

For the ballots to count, though, they will need all the correct information.

"Make sure that when you are returning your absentee ballot, that you have signed that envelope, you have a witness. Make sure they sign it, and make sure they put their address," Magney said.

During the April primary, more than 14,000 ballots did not count because they were missing a signature or an address. That number is expected to be lower this election.

"There was confusion back then, and our hope is people requested their absentee ballots early enough," said Magney.

The rules pertaining to absentee voting are part of the reason Bennett decided to show up in person and watch his vote get cast.

"I just want to make sure my vote is counted, that nothing gets lost," Bennett said.

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More than 900 absentee ballots have been returned to voters because of an issue.

Those voters have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to get those issues fixed.

To track an absentee ballot or find more information about your local polling place, visit myvote.wi.gov


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