There has been some confusion about absentee ballot requests, mail in voting and recent mailings from the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Please read carefully and completely, and further question should be directed to your clerk.
First to clarify the recent mailing from the Wisconsin Elections Commission the following information was provided by WEC:
On September 1, 2020, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) sent an informational mailing to approximately 2.6 million Wisconsin voters throughout the entire state.
The 6-member, bi-partisan Elections Commission voted unanimously in May of 2020, directing staff to send an informational mailer to voters about their options to cast a ballot in November. They further directed that the mailer should include an absentee ballot request form. The mailing was designed to explain to voters all three options to vote in the November General Election. The main objectives of the mailing are to:
1. Explain how registered voters can cast a ballot for the November General Election
2. Encourage voters to use Myvote.wi.gov
3. Encourage voters who choose to request absentee ballots to act early and return the ballot promptly.
What is in the mailing? In total, voters will receive three pieces:
• Voter information mailer
• Absentee Application designed specifically for this mailer
• A pre-addressed, business reply return envelope to the WEC (no postage required by voter).
While the mailing encourages voters to use Myvote.wi.gov, a paper absentee application was included so that individuals without internet access have an option to easily request a ballot.
The mailing was only sent to voters who are registered to vote in Wisconsin and did not already have a General Election absentee request on file at the end of June.
Third party groups, for example; political parties or advocacy groups, have also sent out postcard forms to various electors to encourage absentee voting. These forms can be used but it is important to make sure all required info is being provided to your clerk:
1. Request mailing address should be to your local clerk at Town of Lake Mills, 1111 S. Main Street, Lake Mills, WI 53551
2. Information provided should be:
a. Name of elector as it appears on the poll list
b. Address of elector
c. What election you are requesting an absentee ballot for
d. Signature and date request is being made
e. You MAY need to provide a copy of your voter ID.
It is encouraged to provide a contact phone number or email as well so your clerk can contact you if they need further information.
IF YOU HAD ALREADY REQUESTED AND ABSENTEE BALLOT PRIOR TO THESE MAILINGS YOU CAN DISREGARD THE MAILINGS. To review your request on file, go to: www.myvote.wi.gov
MAIL IN BALLOT VERSES ABSENTEE BALLOTS:
Many of you may have heard references to “Mail-in ballots” in the news, social media or by other means.
In the State of Wisconsin, we use the “Absentee Ballot” system, not a “Mail In ballot” system. Although the absentee ballots uses the method of mailing to be received and returned it is not the same as the Mail In ballot system. Mail in ballot systems are used by other states where all registered voters are automatically mailed a ballot rather than having physical polling locations for in person voting.
In Wisconsin because we have in person voting the day of the election; our vote by mail system is by Absentee Ballot, which is generated by the elector’s REQUEST, not automatically.
An elector can request absentees for one or more elections in one request (within one year). When more than one election is selected, they will receive a ballot for all requested elections without having to make the request again. You will receive the ballot by mail for you to complete and return as instructed.
Your returned ballot is processed by your clerk and/or election officials under the supervision of the clerk, who review signatures and certifications, mark the poll list with your vote number (same as if you were voting in person) and then cast the ballot on your behalf ensuring the confidentiality of your vote and the elections security by following procedures set by WEC the entire time.
Any request made without all of the required information and supporting documents needed, may delay your request.
RETURNING COMPLETED ABSENTEE BALLOTS:
Once you have received your absentee ballot, have sealed completed the ballot in the certificate envelope and completed the required information on the certificate envelope, you have a few options to return the ballot:
1) Mail the ballot back to your clerk with the return address provided (allow ample time for the mail service)
2) Drop it in the secure drop box at the Town Hall, 1111 S. Main Street, Lake Mills. (open 24/7 and checked daily or more by the clerk)
Ballots must be received no later than 8pm on the election day.
It is encouraged to return the ballot sooner, if possible, this allows time for the clerk to review the signatures/certifications and have the elector make any corrections to the certification if necessary using the guidelines set by WEC, and record the ballot as “returned” in the election system to keep the election information as up to date as possible.
Please use www.myvote.wi.gov to check your absentee ballot request status, to make a request, to update where the absentee should be mailed to, etc. Or contact your clerk at [email protected], (920)648-5867.
If you have any questions about elections or absentee voting please contact the clerk.