The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has touched nearly every aspect of our lives — rapidly changing how we work, socialize, shop and function on a daily basis. And now it’s fundamentally reshaping our democracy.
The collective shift toward social distancing and the urgent calls for Americans to stay at home has forced us to rethink our approach to voting. States across the country are grappling with how to preserve public health while also keeping elections safe and accessible. In addition to an unprecedented surge in absentee voting, Wisconsin saw several changes made this weekend that will impact the upcoming spring elections on April 7th. Here’s what you need to know.
Online voting registration period extended: A federal judge on Friday moved to give Wisconsinites more time to register to vote, reopening online registration until March 30. The Wisconsin Election Commission has said that the online registration system is back up, but it still may be slow because of high demands on the system. If you have a Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID card, you can register here: https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/RegisterToVote
Early voting sites closed: Early voting sites in Milwaukee and Madison, and possibly elsewhere, have been closed by officials who have deemed it too great of a risk to people’s health. We encourage you to vote by mail and request an absentee ballot here as soon as possible, because your clerk has to receive your ballot back by Election Day (April 7): https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/VoteAbsentee If you consider yourself to be indefinitely confined to home due to age, physical illness, infirmity or disability, you do not need to include a photo ID to request an absentee ballot.
Statewide “Stay at Home” order declared: Governor Tony Evers announced Monday that he has issued a “stay at home” order that will go into effect on Tuesday. The order will close all non-essential businesses and require workers to work from home. It remains unclear how the policy will impact in-person voting on election day.
The April 7th election situation is fluid, and we know that it can be confusing. We will keep you updated with any additional changes, and we encourage everyone who can to vote by mail: https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/VoteAbsentee