Election Watch 2012 Pre-Election Guide

Written by admin   // November 2, 2012   // 0 Comments

Election Day Voting Hours: 7 A.M. – 8 P.M.
To find out where you are supposed to vote, call 286-VOTE or go to
How to Register to Vote
Wisconsin law requires every qualified voter to complete or maintain a current voter registration before voting in an election. Therefore, you must complete a voter registration application if you are a new Wisconsin voter or your name and/or residential address has changed since you last registered to vote.
If you are uncertain of your voter registration name, address or status, you may click this link https://vpa.wi.gov/ and select option one.
The City of Milwaukee provides four opportunities for completing and updating your voter registration: by mail, at any Milwaukee Public Library, at City Hall and at your voting site on Election Day.
Registration by mail and at Milwaukee Public Libraries ends 20 days prior to each election (or the third Wednesday before each election). This is referred to as the “close of registration” date. You may still register to vote at City Hall during the 20 days before an election, or at your voting site on Election Day.
     1. BY MAIL
Download and print the Voter Registration Application.  Once complete, you may mail the application along with acceptable proof of residence, if applicable, to: City of Milwaukee Election Commission, 200 East Wells, Room 501Milwaukee, WI 53202
Registrations by mail must be postmarked prior to the close of registration date for each election.
NOTE FOR NEW WISCONSIN VOTERS: If you are a new Wisconsin voter (you have never previously registered to vote in the State of Wisconsin), you must include a photocopy of a proof of residence document, as listed below, with your application. If you do not include a copy, you will be required to show a proof of residence document before you can be issued a ballot to vote in an election. (This requirement does NOT apply to any person that previously registered to vote in the State of Wisconsin, but is completing a new registration application due to a change of address or name change.)
All Milwaukee Public Libraries have voter registration applications and registrars to assist you with completing the voter registration process during regular hours of operation. You may view a list of Milwaukee Public Library sites by clicking this link:  www.mpl.org.
You may register to vote at the office of the Election Commission, Room 501, City Hall, 200 East Wells. Office hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.
Any person registering to vote within the 20 days preceding an election (or after the close of registration) must provide an acceptable proof of residence document as listed below.
You may register and vote at your voting site on any Election Day. To determine your voting site, click http://itmdapps.ci.mil.wi.us/electedreps/electrep.jsp and enter your voter registration address.
Any person registering to vote and voting on Election Day must have lived at their current address for at least 28 days before the election with no present intent to move and must provide an acceptable proof of residence document from the list below.
A proof of residence is a document used during the voter registration process to verify your name and address. Any document used as a proof of residence MUST include:
Your current and complete name
Your current and complete residential address
An account, document or identification number
AND must be from one of the following proof of residence document types:
A current and valid Wisconsin driver’s license.
A current and valid Wisconsin identification card.
Any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit.
Any identification card issued by an employer in the normal course of business and bearing a photo of the card holder, but not including a business card.
A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
An identification card issued by a university, college, or technical college in this state that contains a photograph of the cardholder, together with a fee payment receipt issued to the cardholder by the university, college, or technical college dated no earlier than nine (9) months before the date of the election at which the receipt is presented.
An identification card issued by a university, college, or technical college in this state that contains a photograph of the cardholder if the university, college, or technical college that issued the card provides a certified and current list of students who reside in housing sponsored by the university, college, or technical college and who are U.S. citizens to the municipal clerk, prior to the election showing the current address of the students and if the municipal clerk, special registration deputy, or inspector verifies that the student presenting the card is included on the list.
A gas, electric or telephone service statement (utility bill) for the period commencing not earlier than 90 days before Election Day.
Bank statement.

A check or other document issued by a unit of government.
A residential lease which is effective for a period that includes Election Day (cannot be used as by first-time WI voters registering by mail).
Voter Photo ID Law Status…
Currently, NO ID is required for voting. Two separate judges on March 6 and March 12 of this year have issued injunctions preventing the Government Accountability Board from enforcing photo ID requirements in the 2011 legislation titled Act 23. The Wisconsin Department of Justice has appealed those injunctions and the cases are currently in the Court of Appeals.

Voting an  absentee ballot
Wisconsin is a “no excuse” absentee voting state, meaning you can vote by absentee ballot for any election for any reason, including convenience.
There are two ways to vote an absentee ballot before any election:
You can vote an “in-person absentee” by casting your ballot at City Hall before the election. In-person absentee voting begins the third Monday before each election and ends at 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before each election. Contact the Election Commission before each election for location and hours.
You can vote a “by mail” absentee, where you submit a request for an absentee ballot, a ballot is mailed to you and you vote and mail back your absentee ballot in a postage-paid reply envelope. Requests to receive an absentee ballot by mail must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday before an election. 
Absentee ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and received in the Election Commission office by 4:00 p.m. on the Friday after any election, will be counted if all other absentee ballot rquirements are met.
A qualified voter may choose to vote an absentee ballot for:
One election
An election cycle (Primary and Election)
A full calendar year of elections (Spring and Fall election cycle)
Permanently, if you certify that you are indefinitely confined and unable to leave your home
Qualifications to vote an absentee ballot
*You must be registered to vote at your current address before you can request or receive an absentee ballot. The qualifications to register to vote are as follows:
A U.S. citizen
18 years of age or older on Election Day
You have lived at your current address for at least 28 consecutive days before the election
You are not currently serving probation, parole or extended supervision for a felony conviction
 * Click the link for the Voter Public Access (VPA) site on the Election Commission’s main page if you would like to confirm your voter registration address.
Requesting an Absentee Ballot
There are two options for requesting an absentee ballot:
Complete the Application for Absentee Ballot (GAB-121).
Submit a letter or email requesting an absentee ballot that
includes the following information:
•Residence Address
•Date of Birth
•Requested election date, election cycle or calendar year
 If a request is made for more than one person residing at the same address, each person must sign the letter of request and include all required information for each person.
In order to expedite the mailing of your ballot, you may submit your request by fax at (414) 286-8445 or email at absenteeballot@milwaukee.gov.
HOSPITALIZED ELECTORS – Please call the Election Commission at 286-3491 for further information.
 Central Processing of Absentee Ballots
All absentee ballots are processed at a central location (4300 North Richards Street) rather than the respective voting sites. A voter number is recorded on all absentee ballots during processing.

What else you need to know…
Early voting, which began Monday, October 22,  used to begin about a month before election day, but Republicans in the State Legislature changed that last year so that it lasts for just two weeks.
It ends on the Friday before the election, instead of the day before the election as it used to. This year, early voting ends Nov. 2.
• State Republican lawmakers also made it so that people had to live in their voting ward for 28 days or more to use the polling place in their ward – up from 10 days.
If they have lived there for less than 28 days, they have to vote in their previous polling place.
• Straight-party ballots—used by voters wanting to vote for all candidates of one party, unless they make exceptions for individual offices—are no longer allowed in Wisconsin.
In a change that was overshadowed by the controversy over whether voters should have to show a photo ID to cast a ballot, Republican state officials banned straight-ticket voting. You will have to choose the candidate of your choice race by race.
Also banned is voter registration corroboration. If you don’t have an acceptable document that shows your mname and address, ou can no longer establish residency in a ward by having a registered voter vouch for you.
• What to do: Don’t wait until the last minute to dig up a doucment or set up a new bank account at your new address or under your new name after a marriage or divorce.
You can provide a current, valid Wisconsin driver’s license or other official documents including utility bills and bank statements. For a full list, to to gab.wi.gov/node/2550
•No hard copy required: Establish your residence by showing a clerk or poll worker an acceptable document displayed on a computer or smartphone screen. An internet connection will not be provided.
Every vote counts!
Especially if you’re “Off Paper!”
You are not eligible to vote in Wisconsin if you have been convicted of a felony and you are currently serving any portion of your sentence (including extended supervision, probation, or parole, also known as being “on paper.”)
BUT, once you successfully complete your sentence and are no longer under the supervision of the Department of Corrections (“off paper”) your voting rights are restored, and you regain your eligibility to vote. You must re-register to vote.
You do not need to provide any special documents, other than proof of residence, in order to register. You do have to certify on your voter registration form that you are no longer under correctional supervision.
(Important note: It is a felony to vote while still under correctional supervision for a felony. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (the GAB) compares a list of people who voted with a list of felons on supervision after each election.)
People who have been committed under chapter 980 (for sexually violent offenses) are still eligible to vote, if they have completed the term of their correctional sentence, probation or supervision. Voting rights are also restored if you are pardoned. If your rights have been restored or you have been pardoned, you are eligible to vote.
If you are in jail serving a misdemeanor sentence or awaiting trial, you are still eligible to vote–usually by absentee ballot. This includes most people in county jails and voters who were convicted of a felony and a misdemeanor, but have served the entire sentence for the felony, and are still in jail or prison for the misdemeanor.
If you are incarcerated, the address where you lived immediately before you were incarcerated is your address for voting purposes. You may not use the jail or prison as your voting address. If you are not incarcerated, you should use the address where you currently reside. Since residency for voting purposes is different from residency for other purposes, you may register at a half-way house or other facility, even if their rules state it is not a residence for other purposes.– (Information provided by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.)
How to Research Candidates in the Upcoming Election
In less than a week, people across the country will vote for the next president, as well as other state and local offices. If you want to vote, it’s important to make sure you are registered and know about your voting options, such as early voting and requesting an absentee ballot.
It’s just as important that you are familiar with the races on your local ballot so you can make informed decisions. Most state election sites have a list of candidates or a sample ballot. This can help you become familiar with who is running for office.
Check Voter Guides
If you want to learn more about the candidates’ views on topics that matter to you, then you might want to check the candidates’ websites or a voter guide. The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, produces an online voter guide where you can find a sample ballot, candidates’ answers to specific questions, and links to the candidates’ websites.
There are many organizations that produce voter guides to encourage voting for certain candidates based on the priorities of the group, such as the environment or health care. These organizations may be able to help you find information about the candidates’ positions on issues that matter to you.
Many state and local organizations, such as newspapers, also produce voter guides. These can be a good way to find additional information about local issues of interest.
If you are unsure of where to look for information about a candidate or want to find a local voter guide, check with your local public library.
Research Voting History
If a candidate is currently in office or previously held office, then you can also view the person’s voting history. In order to do this, you need to know information about a piece of legislation the candidate voted on, such as bill name or number.
If the candidate served in Congress, you can find voting history by visiting Congress.gov and checking the Major Actions tab on a piece of legislation, such as Senate bill 3187. Here you’ll find links to Senate sites that contain a record of the vote on the bill.
If the candidate served in a state office, then try checking your state legislature’s website for similar information.
Some organizations may also add voting history on specific issues to their voter guides.
Don’t Forget Ballot Measures
In addition to voting for candidates, you may be presented with ballot measures, additional questions about issues impacting your state or local community.
Your state election site or sample ballot should also have information about any ballot measures that you will vote on in November.
A state or local voter guide may also include details about the issue that can help you determine how to cast your vote.–Article courtesy of USA.gov.



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