Although the Voter Id portion of the 2011 Wisconsin Election Reform Act was struck down by two different courts, a number of other provisions remain in force. The Wisconsin State Journal explains the changes in detail. But here’s their synopsis on what the changes are and how they may affect you. Particularly if you haven’t voted since the last presidential general election:
Changes in voting and registration rules
Presidential elections typically bring out more voters than other contests. Those who haven’t voted recently, may notice changes for the Nov. 6 election, especially if they need to register to vote with a new name or address.
Voter registration corroboration banned
If you don’t have an acceptable document that shows your name and address, you 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 document 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: 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 won’t be provided.
No home: Homeless people must obtain a letter from a social service agency specifying a shelter or other location, such as a park bench, as their residence.
New voting rules
Where you vote: You are expected to vote in the ward where you lived on Oct. 9 — that is, 28 days before the election instead of 10 days under the old law.
Sign on the line: You must sign a poll book when voting at the polls, unless you are handicapped.
Ward boundary changes: Your voting district and polling place may have changed. (Go to myvote.wi.gov to check.)
Straight ticket option gone: No straight party ticket voting. Choose a candidate race by race.
Voter ID in limbo: You don’t need to show ID to vote (emphasis added), even though the 2011 law required it. A court overturned the requirement after one election. More appeals are pending.
Changes for early and absentee balloting
Less time for early voting: You may no longer vote your absentee ballot in-person in your local clerk’s office the day before the election.
Extended absentee voting: Your mailed-in absentee ballot can be postmarked as late as Election Day and arrive at the clerk’s office as late as the Friday after the election.
Don’t vote twice: If you vote absentee, it is against the law to vote again at the polls. In the past, this was legal, with the absentee vote being canceled.
Now that you are forewarned, plan accordingly and make sure your vote counts on November 6th…AND MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!