Presidential voting: Better to act nowFor those once-every-four-year voters, Troy Town Clerk Sharon Provos warns: “If you haven’t voted since the last presidential election in 2004, you’re probably not registered to vote now.”
By: Phil Pfuehler, River Falls Journal
For those once-every-four-year voters, Troy Town Clerk Sharon Provos warns: “If you haven’t voted since the last presidential election in 2004, you’re probably not registered to vote now.”
State voting law changed in 2006. The change affected towns under 5,000. It required more formal registration for eligible voters.
Town residents who registered and voted during elections since 2006 should be good to go for the Nov. 4 presidential election unless they have a new address or changed their name. If you’ve changed one of those since 2006, you’ll have to register again.
While Wisconsin adult residents can register and vote on Election Day, doing so is likely to take longer.
The reason for that is that voter turnouts for presidential elections are big, causing long lines to form.
“If you have to register besides voting on Election Day, be prepared to wait in line. And it will be a long wait,” Provos said.
In the town of Troy, Provos said there are some 800 unregistered voters versus 2,300 registered. In the last presidential election, about 2,700 voted in Troy. With the town growing, Provos expects even more voters in November. Voter registration forms were mailed out to Troy residents this summer. Provos said the response was poor. “They’ve been trickling in,” she said.
Special times have been set aside at Troy Town Hall, 654 Glover Road, for voter registration and absentee ballot voting. Those are: 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21; 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25; 9 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Monday, Oct. 30, 31, and Nov. 3.
To register, bring in a driver’s license or some proof of residency, such as a utility bill. Provos can also be reached during her office hours at Town Hall from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Call her at 425-2665.
Those who live in the city of River Falls and vote regularly should be registered unless they’ve moved.
As people try to avoid long lines during presidential elections, absentee balloting has become more popular.
But City Clerk Lu Ann Hecht cautioned: “You can’t vote absentee unless you’re registered.”
Recent voter registration drives have been a bust.
One was held last month at Dick’s Fresh Market and EconoFoods. The month before, another was held at the public library during River Falls Days.
“Between all those places we only got six people registered,” Hecht said.
A final registration drive will be held 6-8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, during the fire department’s open house at the Second Street fire hall. Hecht and two deputy clerks will be there for voter registration.
Absentee ballots are available upon written request, either by letter or by using an official form.
City residents can ask for them by mailing to City of River Falls/123 E. Elm St./River Falls, WI 54022. Include your full name, address, date of the election, then sign and date your request.
Even if you stop at City Hall to get an absentee ballot, you’ll need to make a written request.
Questions about this process can be made to Hecht by calling 425-0900, ext. 107, or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hecht said political parties and special interest groups, targeting their supporters, are also mailing absentee ballot request forms. To vote absentee, she reiterated that a voter must be properly registered.
Absentee ballot forms are being printed. They should arrive at City Hall and the various town halls sometime in the first week of October.
If you stop at City Hall and get an absentee ballot, you must vote right there. You can’t take the ballot home.
If you vote absentee and mail the ballot back to City Hall, it must include an absentee certificate signed and dated by the voter and by a witness (any adult U.S. citizen). The city and towns pay the postage for absentee ballot voting.
The last day clerks can mail out absentee ballots is Thursday, Oct. 30. The last day to vote absentee in the clerk’s office is Monday, Nov. 3.
In the town of River Falls, Clerk Ruth Stern said there are 1,266 registered voters and between 400 and 500 who are unregistered.
A special voter registration drive is set for 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, at Town Hall, corner of Hwy. 65 and Randall Road. Absentee voting will also take place at Town Hall from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 25. Stern agreed that those who wait to register and vote on Nov. 4 election day will “slow things down.”
Questions about how to register and use absentee balloting can be made by calling Stern at 425-7373 or e-mailing her at email@example.com.
In the town of Kinnickinnic, Clerk Lola Higgins said there are about 875 registered voters and about 350 unregistered. To avoid voting backups on Election Day, Higgins urged unregistered town residents to get themselves registered on these two dates and times at Town Hall: 4:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9. The Town Hall’s address is 1271 County Road J near the intersection with County Road JJ.
To be on the safe side, Higgins recommends that anyone wishing to have an absentee ballot mailed out should make the request early. Request for absentee ballots can also be made by stopping in at Town Hall while Higgins is normally there: Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For questions, call her at 715-821-0382.
In the town of Martell, Clerk Janice Swanson said a recent mailing with voter registration forms netted only 15 returns. She estimated there may be as many as 500 unregistered Martell voters. Town residents with question should call Swanson at 273-3128 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the town of Clifton, Clerk/Treasurer Judy Clement-Lee is the one to reach with voter questions. She was unavailable to comment for this story. Call Clement-Lee at 426-6332 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
In the town of Pleasant Valley, Clerk Deborah J. Volkert said those wishing to register can drop by her house at 461 County Road J evenings or weekend. Volkert, a loan officer at First National Bank in River Falls, said people can always call her with questions about registering or absentee ballots at 715-796-5630.
To check your voter status online, go to this state Web site at http://vpa.wi.gov/. For more information about voting and elections, try www.vote-smart.org; www.lwvwi.org (League of Women Voters); and http://elections.state.wi.us/.