MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- In the span of just a few hours Monday, in-person voting in Wisconsin was postponed, then reinstated, and the extended absentee period put in place by a federal court a few days earlier was struck down.
All of that back-and-forth can leave voters’ heads spinning, so here’s a breakdown of where voting rules stand as of 7 p.m. Monday:
POLLS OPEN AT 7 A.M. TUESDAY: In-person voting will resume as normally scheduled. Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
YOUR POLLING PLACE MAY HAVE CHANGED: While voting times may be the same, for a lot of voters, their voting location won’t be. A lack of poll workers and the drastic increase in absentee voting has caused many municipal and county clerks to cut the number of polling places. (See below for more tips about voting in person)
- A list of Madison polling changes is available here
- The new voting locations can also be looked up here
- Anyone with questions can also call their municipal or county clerk to confirm their location
ABSENTEE BALLOTS DUE TUESDAY: Anyone who has not already sent in their absentee ballot will need to submit it or mail it Tuesday. Per the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, unless the state changes its voting laws further, an absentee ballot must:
- Be postmarked by Election Day, April 7, 2020, and received by April 13, 2020, at 4 p.m.
- Hand-delivered by 8 p.m. on April 7, 2020. (Note: Votes submitted at a Clerk's Office must be done early enough that they can take them to a polling location)
All prior court orders extending those deadlines have been struck down by the Supreme Court decision.
IF YOU HAVEN’T RECEIVED YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT: If you requested an absentee ballot, but have not received it in time to return it by the April 7 deadlines, you will need to vote in person.
TIPS FOR IN-PERSON VOTING
The City of Madison Clerk’s Office is reminding voters in-person voting is occurring on Tuesday, but there are some changes in place for Coronavirus safety.
Below are the twelve things they want voters to know before heading to the polls.
- Many polling places have changed for this election. To verify your polling location, visit www.cityofmadison.com/WhereDoIVote
- You may use your own black or blue ballpoint pen. At the public test of election equipment, we made sure the tabulator accurately tallied ballots marked with blue or black ballpoint ink. We cannot guarantee that other colors of ink will be counted. Sharpies might bleed through the ballot and affect contests on the other side of the ballot. Gel pens do not dry fast enough, and gel gums up inside of the tabulator, causing ballot jams. If you have a pen that writes really smoothly, it is likely a gel pen, and it does not work well with our election equipment.
- Curbside voting is available. As always, voters unable to enter the polling place due to disability or illness may vote from the curb. We anticipate that curbside voting will be utilized by voters who have underlying health conditions, are at high risk for COVID-19, or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. When you pull up to the curb of the polling place, you will see a sign posted with a number to call in order to reach the poll workers inside. Two poll workers, wearing protective face shields, will bring you a ballot that you may mark inside your vehicle. If you have your own ballpoint pen, wave the pen at the poll workers so they know you do not need a pen. Hold your Voter ID up to your window for the poll workers to check. Crack your window open just enough to receive your ballot from the poll workers. Mark your ballot, fold it, and pass it back to the poll workers through your cracked car window. The poll workers will feed your ballot into the tabulator to be counted. Two poll workers are involved in this process for accountability purposes.
- Hand sanitizer will be at the poll book table and polling place exit. Voters will be asked to sanitize their hands at the poll book table before signing the poll book. This will allow time for the voter’s hands to dry before they receive their ballot. Hand sanitizer will also be available for voters to use as they exit the polling place.
- Keep your ballot dry! Rain is in the forecast for Tuesday. When ballots get wet, they shred in the tabulator and can take down the tabulator for the entire day. If your ballot gets wet, whether with rain or sanitizer, ask a poll worker for a replacement ballot.
- Maintain social distancing. In the interest of public safety, we ask that all voters and poll workers practice social distancing to the greatest extent possible. If you are in line, allow six feet of space between you and the next voter. You will be interacting with poll workers through a Plexiglass screen. When selecting a voting booth to use, allow six feet of space between you and other voters. Poll workers will be disinfecting pens and voting booths after each use.
- Voters will not need to remove their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Poll workers have been instructed to verify the identity of a voter wearing a facemask by comparing the eyes in the voter’s ID to the eyes of the voter before them. Poll workers should not ask voters to remove their facemasks.
- Voters who have not returned an absentee ballot may vote at the polls. Voters who received an absentee ballot but have not sent that ballot back to the Clerk’s Office have the option of voting at the polls on Election Day instead. Voters who have returned their absentee ballot to be counted may not vote at the polls on Election Day.
- Voters may use three library book drops to return their absentee ballots. Pinney Library, Sequoya Library, and Central Library have opened their book drops for voters returning their absentee ballots (sealed in the absentee certificate envelope with the voter’s signature, witness signature, and witness address). The Clerk’s Office retrieves these ballots from the library daily. To make sure ballots are not damaged, please do not return library materials to these book drops.
- Do not hesitate to contact the Clerk’s Office. If you have a question or encounter a problem at your polling place, please let us know right away by calling (608) 266-4601.