Commentary

It’s primary day! Here’s what you need to know

February 15, 2022 6:30 am

(Photo by Drew Angerer | Getty Images)

The 2022 spring primary is Tuesday, Feb. 15, and we have another opportunity to participate in our democracy. If you haven’t yet cast your ballot by absentee voting, then prepare now for how you will vote in-person. Not every Wisconsin voter will have an election Tuesday. Check MyVote.wi.gov to see if you have an election and what is on your ballot. If you have an election, plan to vote.

Mail-in Absentee Ballot

If you still have a mail-in absentee ballot that was mailed to you and you have not returned it yet, be sure to hand return your completed ballot. Do NOT mail it. All ballots need to be received no later than 8pm on Election Day (and some drop boxes will close prior to 8pm.) Your clerk and myvote.wi.gov will have information about where you can take your ballot. Don’t forget: The ballot envelope needs a witness signature and the address of the witness.Important: Ballot drop boxes can be used and are in effect for Tuesday’s election but will not be available for the April 5th election because of a last-minute, misguided decision by the 4 to 3 conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocking their use for the April 5 election. But for the February 15 primary election, drop boxes are available for use in returning absentee ballots.

You can track your ballot through the official ballot tracker on MyVote. Don’t see that your ballot was received? Contact your clerk for further information.

In-person voting at your polling location

If you are planning to vote in person at the polls, please take great care. Follow social distancing guidelines for your safety and the safety of others. Wear a mask. Consider bringing your own black or blue pen to mark your ballot. Be patient and safe. And read the information below so you are prepared when you show up to vote at your polling location. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Polling Location

Polling places can change. To find out where to go to cast your ballot, visit the Find My Polling Place page on the My Vote Wisconsin website and type in your address.

Registration

You can register to vote on Election Day at your polling location. Being registered to vote means being registered at your current address. You need to have lived at your current address for at least 28 days prior to Election Day in order to register to vote in that election district or ward. You’ll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically — like on your phone or tablet).

Photo ID

You are required to show a photo ID before you vote. If you have a Wisconsin driver’s license or ID card, then you’re all set. Other forms of ID work too, and it’s good to check the official list of acceptable IDs at Bring It to The Polls to make sure you have what you need.

What if you don’t have an acceptable ID to vote? You can ask for and vote with a provisional ballot. But, for your ballot to be counted, you must either come back to your polling place with an acceptable form of ID before it closes at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day or bring your ID to your municipal clerk’s office by 4:00 p.m. the Friday after the election (Friday, February 18th). If you don’t have an acceptable ID for voting and need help getting one, contact the Voter Helpline 608-285-2141 for assistance.

Your Ballot

You will find local and state races on your ballot. These may include the School Board, City Council, Village President, Judges, Mayor, and Alders. (Find out what is on your ballot at MyVote). These offices and the people who serve in these roles have a direct impact on you.

Get to know who wants to represent you and which candidate best represents your values before you vote. Find candidate and ballot information from the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin at Vote411.

College Students voting in Wisconsin

Are you a college student voting in Wisconsin? Or do you know a student who wants to vote in Wisconsin? Here is important information from the Common Cause Wisconsin website to share: Three Things College Students Need to Do To Vote in Wisconsin

Have questions or need some assistance? Help is just a call, text, or email away.

Call or text the WI Voter Helpline at 608-285-2141 and you will be connected to a nonpartisan person who can help answer all your questions. You can also request services such as getting assistance at the DMV to get an ID to vote or having someone witness your absentee ballot.

Voters with disabilities have the right to an accessible polling place. This includes the right to use an accessible voting machine, to assistance marking a ballot, and to voting curbside. Call the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline for assistance: 1-844-347-8683. Or email: [email protected]. Additional online resources are also at the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition website

If you experience problems at the polls or have questions, there is help. Call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for support from nonpartisan election protection volunteers with questions or to report problems.

Be involved in state and local elections. Democracy at all levels depends on you. Go vote.

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Jay Heck
Jay Heck

For the past 22 years, Jay Heck has been the Executive Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. He is the chief spokesperson and leads the organization in all facets of its operation.

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