Voting is under way in Wisconsin.
City of Tomah clerk Jo Cram said her office has already received 20 ballots after the first week of early absentee voting. She said the early votes are a mixture of mailed ballots and early absentees cast at the clerk’s office.
“As soon as we had (ballots), people were coming in wanting to vote,” Cram said.
A federal judge invalidated recent state legislation that limited early absentee voting to two weeks before the election and barred weekend voting. He reinstated the law that allows local clerks to set their own early absentee hours.
Early voting hours in the city of Tomah are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. She said clerks in smaller municipalities with more limited office hours are accepting appointments.
Cram said she hasn’t decided whether Tomah will conduct any weekend voting.
Early voting is still prohibited on the final three days before the Nov. 8 election, which makes the final day of early absentee balloting Friday, Nov. 4. Cram anticipates 20 to 25 percent of Tomah voters will cast ballots prior to election day.
The law requiring photo ID remains in effect. Cram said anyone voting absentee by mail must either include a copy of an approved voter ID or have one on file with the clerk.
The judge allowed two other voting changes pertaining to mailed absentee ballots to remain intact:
Ballots must include the address of the witness. She said the ballot can’t be opened without the address. “If it gets here early enough, we can try to fix it,” Cram said.
Ballots must arrive at the clerk’s office by election day. The previous law allowed ballots to be counted if they were postmarked on election day and received by the clerk within three days after the election. “We must have it in our possession by election day or it will not count,” Cram said.
Cram expressed concern about registration forms distributed by Voter Participation Center. She said the forms are incomplete and being sent to people who are already registered or deceased.
“We have urged them to get a better database,” Cram said.
She said voters who have a question about their registration status should contact their local clerk or visit gab.wi.gov and click the MyVote section of the site.
Although election-day voter registration is permitted, Cram urges anyone who isn’t registered to do so in advance. She said it will avoid “standing in two lines on election day.”