2020 is an unprecedented year, and it’s only natural that this year’s election will also enter uncharted territory. This is the first major national election in our lifetimes to occur during a global pandemic, and one in which an unprecedented number of ballots will be cast in Wisconsin and nationwide.
As Election Day approaches, it’s important to know that the ACLU of Wisconsin is preparing for what will be our top priority in the upcoming election -- ensuring that all voters’ voices are heard and their rights on Election Day and beyond are protected.
Our work this election cycle has focused on getting out the vote to ensure that people know how to vote safely in this election – by mail, early/absentee, or on Election Day. We’ve focused on reaching historically marginalized voters in key geographies who are less likely to be reached by other groups and who are strategic to our long-term Smart Justice work.
We have seven organizers on the ground in places we haven’t had staff before, and we’ve been providing direct mail, social ads, phone-banking, and virtual town halls that focus on voter education, covering subjects such as how to request a ballot, properly fill it out and return it to be counted. We’ve also been working with our national office on voter motivation work so that people are armed with the knowledge of how and why to vote.
On Election Day, we play a key role in election protection, working in coalition with the League of Women Voters, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Wisconsin Voices, and many other organizations to run a statewide roving election observer program consisting of several hundred volunteers. We also have a team of over 60 volunteer attorneys who help troubleshoot calls to the Election Protection hotline and resolve problems with clerks. If you have questions or concerns about voting, please don’t hesitate to call the National Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).
We’re taking concerns seriously about potential voter intimidation and harassment, and while Wisconsin has strong laws guarding against bad behavior at the polls, there’s a concern that people trying to intimidate voters or poll workers could slow things down enough to cause other problems. We have been doing all we can to make participating in this election as safe as possible, and those efforts will certainly continue through Election Day.
Legally, we are prepared to help people who cannot get an ID to vote from the DMV or have their valid IDs rejected at the polls, and are also keeping an eye out for voter intimidation, including inappropriate challenges to voter eligibility or other attempts to deter eligible voters.
The goal of any democratic election is to represent the will of the people, and to achieve that goal, we must work together to ensure that every Wisconsin voter’s voice is heard. The ACLU of Wisconsin will be with you every step of the way.