The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, put together a list of the Top 10 things voters should know before heading to the polls today, when the doors open at 7 a.m.
Here's the checklist:
1. Election Day registration: To register on Election Day, the voter needs to have her or his Wisconsin driver's license number and a document that proves 10-day residence in Wisconsin, such as a lease or utility bill. (If the voter possesses no Wisconsin driver's license, she or he may use the last four digits of the Social Security number.)
2. Finding the polling place: Voters can only vote at the polling place which corresponds to their residential address. Locate a polling place by contacting the municipal clerk's office or checking here or here.
3. Election observers: Election observers are welcome at every polling place, but they must follow the instructions of the chief election inspector, and may not interact with voters. Rules for election observers are available at the polling place and on the G.A.B. Web site.
4. Ballot mistakes: Voters who mistakenly mark their ballot may ask for a new ballot. In the case of touch-screen voting equipment, the voter will review ballot choices before affirming the final vote.
5. Wearing political items: Voters are asked not to wear political clothing or paraphernalia to the polling place on Election Day. The chief election inspector may ask voters who are judged to be electioneering or creating a disturbance to leave the polling place.
6. In line when the polls close: Voters who are standing in line waiting to vote when the polling place closes at 8 p.m. on Election Day will be permitted to vote.
7. Photo ID required?: A photo ID is not required of voters at the polling place on Election Day, but the driver's license number may be used to register to vote or to prove residency if the address on the ID is current.
8. Challenging a voter: There are specific criteria and limitations on challenging a person's eligibility to vote. The chief election inspector can explain the challenge process and provide the voter and the challenger with explanatory documents.
9. News media recording: The news media may record the general voting process in the polling place with permission from the chief election inspector, but may not record how any individual voter votes (shooting footage of a ballot, for example) or interrupt the orderly process of voting.
10. Straight party ticket: Voting a "straight party ticket" means marking an area at the top of the ballot to indicate a preference for one political party for any partisan office below that the voter does not check individually. However, if the voter checks "Party A" at the top (straight party) and chooses "Party Z" candidate for State Assembly, the choice for Party Z's State Assembly candidate will be recorded.
Here are some answers to other pertinent questions:
If I voted absentee but die before Election Day, does my vote still count? Absentee voting procedures allow an elector to complete a ballot before Election Day, but those are not considered cast until Election Day. If the voter is deceased at the time the absentee ballot is being processed at the polling place, and the local clerk knows the ballot belongs to someone who is dead, the ballot cannot be counted.
Are there any provisions to take off work to vote? Yes, state law allows workers to take up to three hours off to vote as long as the boss is alerted in advance.
My daughter is serving in the Army in Iraq and she just mailed her absentee ballot late last week. There's no way it will arrive by Tuesday at the municipal clerk's office. Will it still be counted? Ballots mailed by military personnel serving overseas can arrive up to 10 days after the election and still be counted.
If I vote absentee and change my mind before Election Day, is there anything I can do to change my vote? If you beat your absentee ballot to the polls, the ballot you cast at the polls will be counted and the absentee ballot will be discarded. If your absentee ballot arrives first and is counted, it cannot be pulled.