Five things to know before heading to the polls

Compiled by Kimberly Wethal

April 2, 2016


Depending on whether you know who you’re voting for or not, drawing a line to connect the arrow on your ballot is the easy part of voting come April 5.

Getting that ballot in your hand? That’s the harder part.

With Wisconsin’s new voter ID law taking effect next week for the presidential primary election, there are always a few things to take into consideration before you get anywhere near the booth.


  • You’ll need a photo ID to vote


This is the biggest change seen to the voting process since the last election –and it may leave people with no way to vote. The reinstatement of Voter ID legislation in 2014 may barr close to 300,000 people in the state from voting – people who were eligible during the last election – because of their lack of photo identification.

Make sure you’re not one of them by bringing a valid ID to the polls on Tuesday – whether that be a Driver’s License, a passport or a state-issued ID.

If you don’t have your Driver’s License with you on campus, an alternative option would be to call the Department of Motor Vehicles to retrieve your Driver’s License number, Whitewater City Clerk Michele Smith said.

You can retrieve your Driver’s License number by calling the DMV at (608) 266-2353.


  • If you live off-campus, you can’t vote on campus


Because campus residency is split into Walworth and Jefferson counties, the university offers students who live in the residence halls the option to come to the University Center Hamilton Room to cast their votes. Students who live off-campus are not eligible to vote in the UC, but most Whitewater residents can vote at the Downtown Armory at 146 W. North Street.

If you live outside of Whitewater, check with your city or township clerk to find your polling location.


  • Bring proof of residency with you


If you’re a first-time voter, or changing your residency because you’re living in a different residence hall than you were during the last academic year for the November 2014 election, you need to re-register with your new address.

This is an easy form of identification – just bring a piece of mail addressed to you at your current location with you to the polls.

If you don’t happen to have any care-package letters from Grandma stashed away anymore, you can log onto WINS to print and sign a voter enrollment form by going under the “My Academics” tab.

  • This isn’t just a presidential primary you’re voting in

There’s more at stake with this election than just the next commander-in-chief – counties all around the state have smaller elections such as school district board members and county supervisors being voted on this next week.

No matter where you are within Whitewater, you’ll have to choose between a Democratic or Republican ballot for the presidential primary, plus have the option to vote for a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. Those in Walworth County will also be voting for two Circuit Court branch members in District 2, and one in District 4.

For Walworth County, there’s also seats on the Whitewater Unified School District School Board up for grabs.


  • Leave the political propaganda at home


Yes, we know your “Birdie Sanders” shirt arrived just in time in the mail for today.  And totally, that Trump button you managed to score at his rally last week is a pretty good dig at Dems frontrunner Hillary Clinton. It’s just better (and strongly advised by the Government Accountability Board) to show your political affiliation inside the voting booth, rather than out.

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