In May 2011, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board sent postcard notices to Wisconsin voters who had registered to vote prior to Jan. 1, 2007, but have not voted in a state or national election since that date. “If you did not vote in the last presidential election in 2008, and if you didn’t vote in the congressional election in 2010, and if you did not respond to the postcard within 30 days, you may no longer be in the Statewide Voter Registration System,” warned Mary Bartelt, Oneida County Clerk.
In 2011, 240,000 voters statewide were mailed postcards warning them of the pending deactivation of their voter registration. Some of those voters may have missed the postcard mailing or otherwise not responded in time. If those voters request an absentee ballot, or go to the polls on Nov. 6, 2012, to vote in the next presidential election, they will find their names have been removed from the poll list. Active duty military personnel are exempt from this four-year voter record maintenance.
Voters may register at any time up to and on the day of the election, but to avoid inconvenience or having to stand in line on Election Day, previously registered voters who have not voted are encouraged to confirm their registration status with their municipal clerk. Late registration in Wisconsin has already begun, so would-be voters are encouraged to take action confirm their registration as soon as possible.
Other considerations may impact voter registration.
In order to register to vote in a municipality in Wisconsin, a voter must prove that they have lived in that municipality for at least 28 days. If a voter is moving between towns or cities during the election cycle, they must return to their former polling place where they were registered to vote for the election, or request an absentee ballot from the municipality. If a voter has not been in a single location in Wisconsin long enough to qualify to vote in a city or town, or does not want to return to the former municipality, they still have a right to vote for president. Questions about residency and voter registration can be brought to the municipal (village, town or city) clerk. They will confirm a voter’s qualifications and residency status with the Government Accountability Board (GAB).
A photo ID is not required to register or to vote in Wisconsin, but proof of residency is required. A complete list of acceptable forms of proof-of-residency is available on the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board website (http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/voters/registration-voting). The list includes these items that have the voter’s current name and street address:
• A current and valid Wisconsin driver 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.
• A residential lease which is effective for a period that includes election day (NOT for first-time voters registering by mail).
• A university, college or technical institute identification card (must include photo), ONLY if the bearer provides a fee receipt dated within the last nine months or the institution provides a certified housinglist to the municipal clerk.
• 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.
Note: Post office Box numbers are not considered proof of residence-only the full street address. Also, an expired driver’s license cannot be used to register to vote. Currently the DMV is mailing all renewed licenses to the holder, and this may take six to eight weeks. Voters who want to use their driver’s license to register must have both the proof of renewal form, along with the expired license to register.
Where to register
Voters may register by mail by filling out the GAB-131 registration form and mailing it to their municipal clerk’s office, or register online at http://myvote.wi.us. Voters may also register in person at their municipal clerk’s office during normal business hours through the Friday before the election. Registration can also be done at the polling place on Election Day, but register before the election to prevent delays.
Updating voter registration
Voters who move their residence or change their name are required to update their voter registration information, whether they have voted in recent elections or not.
Those who would like more information on voter registration may visit http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/voters/registration-voting; call or visit their municipal clerk’s office; or contact Mary Bartelt, Oneida County Clerk, at (715) 369-6230.