Ahead Of Crucial Battleground Election, Wisconsin Aims To Educate Voters On Voting Options

Jul 9, 2020

Wisconsin saw an enormous shift in the number of people who voted early or by mail in its April primary. Election officials are looking to accommodate this trend in November — when even more people are expected to cast ballots. So, they want to educate voters on how to register, how to request and return mail-in ballots (otherwise known as absentee ballots), and what the deadlines are.

Recently, the Wisconsin Elections Commission approved an informational voter mailer, which includes a mail-in ballot request form, to be sent out to approximately 2.7 million registered voters later this summer. It’s part of a plan to help voters and election officials to be ready for November's general election, says Meagan Wolfe, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. She explains the mailer is going to the state’s registered voters who haven’t already requested a ballot, and who haven’t recently moved.

Wolfe says people who've recently moved won’t get the mailing “because those voters will need to get re-registered to vote at their current address before they'd be able to request an absentee [mail-in] ballot.”

The mailer will be sent out sometime between Aug. 11 and Sept. 1.

The Elections Commission also approved sending out postcards to nearly 200,000 voting-eligible but not-registered people in Wisconsin, explaining how to register and what deadlines need to be met. 

People can register to vote by mail, at their municipal clerk's office, at the polls on Election Day, or online.

Registered voters can request mail-in ballots by mail, fax, email or online as well. 

One important thing to note: If registered voters request a mail-in ballot online, Wolfe says they won't be able to submit the application until they upload the required photo ID. But that's not the case when you send in a paper ballot request form.

“If you're using the paper process [to request a mail-in ballot], you're going to have to make a photocopy of your photo ID if you don't already have one on file from voting by mail previously. We really reinforce that multiple times in the mailer,” she says.

People with questions about Wisconsin’s photo ID requirement can go here.

The mailer will also provide a phone number that voters can call if they have questions about any part of the voting process.