The Wisconsin Elections Commission is getting ready for midterm elections in 2018 with an initiative to inform voters about registration opportunities.
“Nearly one in 11 Wisconsin adults will soon be getting an official postcard in the mail urging them to register to vote before the election,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief elections official. “Getting people to register early helps reduce lines and make Election Day better for voters and election workers.”
This is Wisconsin’s second mass mailing to adults who appear to be eligible to vote but are unregistered. In the fall of 2016, the Commission mailed similar postcards to 1.28 million residents. “Contacting potentially unregistered but eligible voters is also vital to ensuring that Wisconsin has a high-quality, complete voter registration list,” Wolfe said.
The informational postcards are being mailed this week, said Wolfe, interim administrator of the Commission. They can take up to nine days to arrive, and should start arriving in mailboxes soon.
Potential voters will be inundated with election-related mailings from candidates, political parties and independent groups in advance of the August 14 Partisan Primary and the November 6 General Election. Wolfe said this postcard from the Wisconsin Elections Commission is different because the mailing list comes from official state databases using a process to identify people who have a driver license or a state ID card but who are not registered to vote. People who were sent the first postcard in 2016 will not be included in this mailing.The postcard encourages voters to register ahead of the election. To do that, they can contact their municipal clerk or visit MyVote.WI.gov. The postcard also has a toll-free number for people without internet access.
If people who are registered to vote get postcards, they should not worry, Wolfe said. Sometimes there are minor differences in the spelling of names or addresses that may result in a registered voter not matching DMV records. “Nobody will be removed from the voter registration list because of this postcard,” Wolfe said.
Voters who need to register or change their address should go to MyVote.WI.gov, Wisconsin’s secure voter services website, said Wolfe. Electors who need to register for the first time, or need to update their voter record, are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as possible and not wait until Election Day. If that is not possible, they can always register on Election Day.
Using MyVote.WI.gov, people who have Wisconsin driver license or state ID card can register online if their current address is on file with the DMV. Those who do not have a driver license or state ID can fill out the registration form online, print it out, sign it and send it to the correct clerk’s address which the website will provide. Voters registering by mail must also send a copy of a proof-of-residence document, such as the registration postcard. A tax bill, utility bill or bank statement with the voter’s current address will also work.
These postcard mailings are required by 2015 Wisconsin Act 261, which directed state election officials to join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). This multi-state group helps its members keep their voter registration lists current by identifying voters who may have changed their address, moved out of state or died. One of the requirements for membership in ERIC is to send a mailing to residents who may be eligible to vote but are not yet registered.