The basics of how to vote can be easily learned

YOURCOUNTY
Jim Baumgart  Sheboygan County Supervisor

Voting is a right that each adult in Wisconsin has as long as they meet some basic rules. You must be a least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States, live in the voting district (town, village, or city) for at least 30 days, not a felon, registered to vote and able to prove these requirements.

For most of us who grew up in families of voters and have voted for many years, it is a simple process.

But that is not the case for a good number of others who may wish to consider voting but are too scared or embarassed to even ask so they brush elections off by saying they are too busy or not interested so they don’t feel foolish.

So, for those who may wish to vote, have important issues facing them or want to help a candidate they like,or maybe wish to teach their children by example that voting is being part of a community, school district, legislative area, and strongly feel part of the Badger State, or for whatever reason, the next few weekly columns are for you.

To get the best advice possible, I called the Village of Kohler for an appointment with Laurie Lindow, Village Clerk/Treasure and Cindi Gamb, Assistant Clerk. They were truly wonderful.

Prior to our meeting, they directed me to the Kohler Village Website and encouraged me to review the information it provided on elections.

That done, once we met it took only about 15 to 20 minutes. It went well for me because I had a strong background and understanding of the election process and an idea of the election changes that have taken place in the last few years.

But, I could still see that to someone with little to no voting experience it still could be confusing and maybe a little scary to begin the process to register and vote. So let me try to help.

Here are a few simple rules to know:

1. All new potential voters will need to be registered and to vote in the town, village, or city they live. If the voters will be out-of-town or on vacation on election day, voting can be done by absentee ballot prior to the election.

2. Registration will be with the town, village or city clerk - as a general rule these clerks are very helpful and wonderful to work with. Let them know your new to the process - they will help.

3. Voting, with the exception of the City of Sheboygan, takes place at one location; larger cities like Sheboygan will have voting locations throughout the city for ease of voting.

4. Elections takes place in Wisconsin in the Spring and Fall.

The Spring Elections are nonpartisan, such as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, judicial races, and for town, village, city and county representatives.

Fall elections are partisan, such as Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasure, U.S. Senate and Congressional races, state Assembly and Senate, and county political offices, such as County Clerk, Treasure, Register of Deeds, Clerk of Courts, and District Attorney.

5. Registration to vote should be done prior to the election but can be done on the same day.

If it is a major election with a large number of people turning out, same-day registration can take a long time and, if an item of proof is needed, a much longer delay can take place if you have to leave and come back.

Do early registration if possible; but same-day registration is your right.

6. The next election is Tuesday, November 4, 2014. It is a partisan election as listed in point # 4.

Are you registered? If you are not sure you can go to an Online Assistance for Voters put out by the Government Accountability Office - that website is: ( http :// myvote.wi.gov ).

Next week this column will begin the process of listing each Sheboygan County town, village and city clerk’s office, website, telephone number and location. Your right to vote is important.


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