Wisconsin could make history as only the third state to recall a sitting governor on Tuesday, June 5. Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett will face Governor Scott Walker in the gubernatorial contest, and Madison firefighter Mahlon Mitchell will challenge Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Voters will vote separately in each race, so it is possible to elect a split ticket.
Wisconsin Act 23, which was enacted last year, made sweeping changes to absentee balloting, voter registration, and residency requirements. Enforcement of the voter identification portion of the law has been suspended as a result of two separate lawsuits. Voters will not be required to show a form of photo identification at the polls.
Residency requirements have been changed from 10 to 28 days, complicating voting for many students who might be leaving Madison and returning to other addresses in the state. The university contacted students with more information about the election laws, outlining their voting options:
- Students remaining in Madison can vote in person or by absentee ballot.
- Students leaving campus, but planning to return to a campus address in the fall can vote by absentee ballot or return to Madison to vote on June 5.
- Students leaving campus permanently, but remaining in Wisconsin can vote by absentee ballot. Those leaving the state permanently are ineligible to vote.
- Students who have not voted in Madison, but are returning to a Wisconsin hometown may vote there.
Absentee balloting has also changed. Voters now have a two week window in which to complete an absentee ballot at their municipal clerk’s office. Absentee balloting in person begins the third Monday before an election (May 21) and ends the Friday before the election (June 1). Voters may no longer register to vote or vote absentee the weekend or Monday before an election.
Voters can also request an absentee ballot by mail. Madison residents can print and return this form to the city clerk by May 30 (May 31 for nursing home residents, shut-ins, and military personnel). Completed ballots must be postmarked by June 5 and received by 4 pm on June 8. Residents outside Madison can complete this form and return it to their municipal clerk.
More information about voting is available on the Governmental Accountability Board website.
ETA: The Madison City Clerk’s Office (210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.) has announced extended hours, including Memorial Day weekend, for absentee balloting:
- Monday, May 21 through Friday, May 25, 8 am to 7 pm
- Saturday, May 26, 8 am to 2 pm
- Sunday, May 27, 12 to 4 pm
- Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day), 9 am to 12 pm
- Tuesday, May 29 through Friday, June 1, 8 am to 7 pm.
Other municipalities may offer extended hours. Voters should check with their local clerk for more information.