We’ll agree that maintaining accurate voting records is important.
What we don’t believe is that purging more than 200,000 people — admittedly a number that seems to be changing daily — from the rolls helps achieve that goal. We should be making it easier for people to vote, not penalizing them for overlooking a notice sent via snail mail.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission in October sent out notices to residents for whom records show they had moved and needed to verify their addresses. A vast majority did not respond within a 30-day window.
One lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty seeks to penalize the Elections Commission for not yet purging the voters and therefore not following the letter of the law.
Another lawsuit led by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin makes due process arguments in saying the registration deactivation is a constitutional violation. One topic of debate is whether the residential address change data constituted “reliable information.”
“Maintaining accurate voter rolls is an important part of our elections, but it must be based on accurate information,” said Erin Grunze, LWVW executive director, in a statement. “Current methods put thousands of legitimate voter registrations at risk, and a purge right now would amount to voter suppression.”
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It’s important to note that if these rolls are purged, individuals can still vote. State officials ought to be modernizing their approach to notification — i.e. through texts or other avenues — but the big takeway is that, however the aforementioned lawsuits play out, those who want their votes counted should be proactive.
Election dates this year are: Feb. 18 (spring primary), April 7 (spring election and presidential preference primary), Aug. 11 (partisan primary) and Nov. 3 (general election). For the spring primary, registration deadlines include Jan. 29 (by mail or online) and Feb. 14 (at your municipal clerk’s office). Voters also can register at their polling places the day of the election.
Those who are registered still need to bring a photo ID to vote. Options include, but aren’t limited to, a drivers license, state ID card, military ID card or U.S. passport.
For those looking to register on Election Day, bring a photo ID and proof of residence. The latter could be a bank statement, utility bill or another document that includes the voter’s name and current residential address.
“Anyone that has moved or changed their name since the last time they voted will need to register to vote,” said Carrie Riepl, city clerk for Eau Claire. “You may register to vote prior to election day at myvote.wi.gov. ... To check the status of your voter registration, visit myvote.wi.gov. Please contact your municipal clerk if you have any questions.”
In-person absentee voting for the spring primary will be available for city of Eau Claire residents at City Hall (times and dates are approximate) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, through Friday, Feb. 7; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, through Thursday, Feb. 13, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14.
Makes tax season seem like a breeze.
— Liam Marlaire, assistant editor