When is the last day you can register to vote? What kind of ID do you need at our polling area? Where is your polling area? Should you bring your lease with you? Will you need photo ID when you vote?
Chances are, you may not know the answers to the above questions. Wisconsin has seen its fair share of uncertainty with regards to voting issues.
Voting requirements are a state issue, and each state’s voting laws are as unique as a snowflake. Registering to vote is not a general, standardized process, and that’s why there’s merit into getting the facts before you head to the polls.
Last semester, UW provided photo ID cards for the recall primaries, which were required at the time. You no longer need these IDs to vote. But don’t let the chaos and confusion of last year’s elections deter you from voting.
Efforts to muddle the voting process – on top of an insane bureaucracy – make answering the questions every voter has to ask more difficult than filling out tax returns.
For instance, in order to find the last day for mail-in registration in Wisconsin, we had to dig through non-governmental websites with homemade bald eagle graphics, only to find the official date is “20 days before election.” Why not write the actual date? For many out-of-state students, proving residency ends up meaning getting rejected at the polls for inadequate paperwork. If you’ve moved since your last election, you should re-register.
This isn’t to say that we’re too dumb to find this information ourselves. Finding the information to vote shouldn’t be a government website scavenger hunt. We recognize the massive efforts undertaken to get students to vote, from volunteers standing in the streets practically begging us to register to campaigns like Rock the Vote, but it’s a shame they’re even necessary.
Voting should remain a sacred, untouched civic exercise. We’ll spare you the hokey “This is your duty!” speech. The fact is, the people you can vote for have a direct effect on your life, and you have no right to complain about them unless you’ve voted.
That’s why we’ve made a flowchart to explain exactly what you need to do to get to your polling place on Nov. 6. You have no excuse not to register to vote because we’ve cut through the bullshit for you.