City clerk urges absentee voting for May 12 election
For the Star Journal
Voters have until May 7 to request an absentee ballot for the special election which will be held May 12, but Rhinelander City Clerk Val Foley is encouraging voters to make the request now. Processing or postal delays could make it difficult to receive and return the ballot by May 12.
“Polls will be open in the City of Rhinelander for those who need them on Election Day, but most voters should vote absentee for this election,” said Clerk Valerie Foley. “For that to happen, you should request an absentee ballot as soon as possible.”
Foley emphasized absentee voting because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The May 12 election takes place in the 7th Congressional District. Republican Tom Tiffany and Tricia Zunker are competing for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, replacing Sean Duffy, who resigned last fall.
How to request an absentee ballot
There are several ways registered voters can request absentee ballots. If you have internet access, the easiest way is to sign up at MyVote Wisconsin, https://myvote.wi.gov.
Just look for the “Vote Absentee” button near the top of the page. On a mobile phone, use the menu button in the upper right corner of the website. There is a three-step process that starts with putting in your name and date of birth, followed by requesting your ballot. If you don’t already have a photo ID on file with your clerk’s office, you can upload a copy. Mobile phone users can take a picture of their photo ID (not a selfie) and upload it to MyVote. Absentee ballot requests submitted this way go directly to your clerk’s office, and you can track your ballot by returning to the website.
Registered voters can also request absentee ballots by mailing, emailing or faxing their municipal clerk’s office.
Absentee ballot request forms are available from the Wisconsin Elections Commission website in English and Spanish:
If you cannot print the form, you can still request an absentee ballot by providing the clerk’s office with your name and your voting address, which election you want to receive an absentee ballot for, and where you want your ballot mailed (in case you are away from your voting address).
Your request must be accompanied by a copy of your photo ID.
If you already have a photo ID on file from previous absentee requests under your current registration, you will not need to provide it again.
Voters are not required to provide a photo ID if they are indefinitely confined to their homes, meaning they may have difficulty getting to the polls because of age, illness, infirmity, or disability. Voters in care facilities can have a representative of the facility confirm the resident’s identity instead of providing a photo ID. More information on photo ID and exemptions can be found at https://bringit.wi.gov.
The deadline for registered voters to request an absentee ballot be mailed is the Thursday before the election, May 7. However, voters should not wait due to possible delays in mail delivery. If you get an absentee ballot mailed to you, you can still decide to vote at the polls on Election Day if you haven’t returned it.
Your absentee ballot must be received in your clerk’s office or at your polling place by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
If you are not registered to vote
Wednesday, April 22 was the deadline for electors to register to vote by mail or online for the May 12 Special Election. After this date, electors must register in person in the municipal clerk’s office or at the polling place on Election Day. Call your municipal clerk at [phone number] for office hours, which may be reduced due to the pandemic.
Voters can still fill out a voter registration form online at https://myvote.wi.gov; however, the form must be printed, signed and hand-delivered to your municipal clerk’s office by Friday, May 8 or to the polling place on Tuesday, May 12. You must also present a proof-of-residence document, which can be a Wisconsin driver license or state ID card if your address is current. Otherwise, documents such as bank statements, utility bills, tax bills, residential leases or any correspondence from a government agency with your name and address on it will work.
Voter registration forms that can be printed and filled out by hand are also available here in English: https://elections.wi.gov/forms/el-131-fillable
Voter registration forms that can be printed and filled out by hand are also available here in Spanish: https://elections.wi.gov/forms/el-131-spanish
Voting absentee in-person
Rhinelander city residents can vote absentee in-person at city hall. The clerk’s staff will also be available for in-person absentee voting by appointment the following days from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 715-365-8600 to schedule an appointment Monday through Friday until May 8.