By Beth Sluys & Lisa Aarli
Northside News and Northside Action Team
“The vote is precious. It is the most powerful, nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it,” said Congressman John Lewis. As we approach the upcoming Nov. 6 elections, it is important that everyone gets out to their polling place and votes.
There are many groups across Dane County working to ensure that voters are registered to vote, understand the new voter ID requirements and have the right kind of required identification.
On the Northside of Madison, the Northside Action Team is actively helping to get folks registered. The team has hosted registration sites at locations such as the Northside Farmers’ Market. “We enjoyed meeting folks at the Sunday market and we strive to get people actively involved in the voting process. It is the most basic thing you can do,” said Lisa Aarli, volunteer with the Northside Action Team (natmadison.org).
The city clerk hosts free and ongoing voter registration training sessions. A Voter Education Ambassador training will be offered on Oct. 2. Learn more about this training and register to attend at www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/elections-voting/election-officials/voter-education-ambassadors.
In addition, the League of Women Voters hosts voter registration trainings and offers registration outreach at locations all over Dane County. The Dane County League of Women Voters’ website (www.lwvdanecounty.org) contains information on candidates, voter registration and Election Day details.
Voting in local elections is important. These elections impact things like school funding and repairs, environmental policies, disability rights, housing law and the appointment of local officials, including alders, police and fire officials. The election this November is critical on both the national and state levels as we look toward electing all 435 members of the House of Representatives and 36 senators, as well as many major state offices including the governor’s race.
If you need a ride to vote, call Union Cab at 242-2000 to receive a free ride to the polls on Election Day. If you need a Wisconsin ID, call the Voter ID Hotline at 258-2141 for help through the process, including a free ride to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The deadlines for the fall election are Oct. 17 for online and mail registrations and Nov. 2 for in-person registrations at the city clerk’s office.
What steps can you take to vote?
Information provided by Beth Sluys, Northside News; Lisa Aarli, Northside Action Team; League of Women Voters
Step 1: Get Registered to Vote
You will need to register to vote if you have moved, changed your name, are new to Wisconsin or haven’t previously registered.
You need to prove your residence to register to vote — with an apartment lease, utility bill, or Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID card with your current address, bank statement, paycheck stub or any government issued document. You may register to vote at the polls on the day you vote, but you must have proper photo ID.
If you have an unexpired Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID card, you may register to vote online at myvote.wi.gov.
Online voter registration:
- If you have a valid Wisconsin driver’s license (DL) or WI Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ID card and your current name and address are in the DMV database, you can register online.
- If you need to update your address at the DMV you can do that at tinyurl.com/DMVchanges. Then complete your registration at myvote.wi.gov.
- The address on your physical DL or ID does not matter.
Register by mail or in-person:
- Don’t have a current WI driver’s license or ID card? Register at your clerk’s office, by mail or if a Madison resident, at any Madison library. You will need to provide proof of residence (POR). You can use a paper registration form or complete one at myvote.wi.gov and print it.
- If registering by mail you must include a copy of your POR and send it to your clerk’s office. Madison residents send the completed form and POR to the Madison clerk’s office at 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., #103, Madison, WI 53703.
- POR must show name and current address. Find acceptable PORs at: elections.wi.gov/publications/voter-guides/proof-of-residence.
- Register online or by mail until 20 days before Election Day or at your clerk’s office until the Friday before the election.
- Register at in-person absentee early voting locations or at the polls on Election Day, with proper POR.
Step 2: Get a Valid Photo ID
- In order to vote you need a photo ID: Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID card, U.S. passport, or military ID with expiration dates of Nov. 8, 2016, or later. A Veteran Affairs card that is unexpired or has no expiration date can also be used.
- The address on your ID does not matter for purposes of proving your identity.
- Out-of-state IDs are not acceptable.
- UW-Madison students can get a free ID for voting at the WisCard office at Union South. Students using the special ID will also need to show proof of enrollment. Students at other colleges can go to commoncausewisconsin.org and check the Student ID Voter Fact Sheet for requirements.
- If you do not have a photo ID, you must get one from the DMV. If you have an out-of-state driver’s license, you would have to surrender that license in order to get the WI ID. The DMV offices you can visit to get a free photo ID are the Madison East Center at 2001 Bartillon Drive or the Madison West Center at 8417 Excelsior Drive. For information about the DMV process, visit wisconsindot.gov.
- For more information about voter ID and the requirements, including a complete list of approved photo IDs, visit Bring It to the Ballot at www.bringitwisconsin.com.
Step 3: Vote and help others to vote
To see which offices are up for election, visit elections.wi.gov/elections. For further information, go to the League of Women Voters of Dane County website at lwvdanecounty.org/voting or the City of Madison clerk at cityofmadison.com/elections.
- Early voting in the city of Madison began Sept. 20 at the City clerk’s office.
- You can vote early at any Madison Public Library beginning Oct. 15.
- Check the City clerk’s website for specific dates, locations and hours at www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/elections-voting/voting/vote-absentee/in-person-absentee-voting-hours-and-locations.
Help your friends, neighbors and family members get to the polls. On Election Day, Nov. 6, the polls are open 7 am–8 pm. Get your ID, be sure of your polling location, call yourself a cab and go vote!