President Trump's rhetorical attacks on voting by mail and the USPS are an attempt to delegitimize democracy. Voting by mail will be the safest way for many people to vote in November, and has been a longstanding method of voting since the Civil War.
While there are legitimate concerns about delays, USPS retains the capacity to handle the surge in mail-in voting expected this fall. But given these concerns – and the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing the demand for mail-in voting – it has never been more important to start the voting process as soon as possible. The ACLU of Wisconsin is urging all voters to prepare to vote immediately to make sure their ballot is counted.
Check your registration status: The first thing you can do is make sure you're registered to vote at your current address, and that your personal information is up to date. If you've moved since you last voted, even between apartments in the same building, you need to register again. Check your status, update information, or get info on how to change your information.
Request your absentee ballot: The "official" deadline may be some time away, but you should request your absentee ballot today. Ballot mailing will begin in mid-September for voters with absentee requests on file – giving you plenty of time to complete and return it, but we encourage you to return your ballots as soon as possible after receiving it. After receiving your absentee ballot, a witness also needs to sign and include their address on the envelope.
Ballots can be returned by mail, returned to the clerk's office, or put in your municipality's drop box (more info on that will be on ballot instructions). Even if you request an absentee ballot, you can still vote in person if you change your mind, as long as you haven't returned your ballot yet. You can also track the location of your ballot after you've requested it, completed, and returned it due to bar codes on each absentee ballot return envelope.
Never voted by mail before? The best way to get started is by visiting myvote.wi.gov, where you can register to vote or get registration info, request absentee ballots, or (if you've decided to vote in person) find your polling place.
Wisconsin voters need to show an acceptable photo ID when voting at the polls or by absentee ballot. There are some exceptions to the law when voting by absentee ballot. Get more info on voter ID requirements and how to get an ID.
For more information on voting, and ways to engage with your elected officials, you can also go to aclu-wi.org/en/VotingRights.