By Edgar Mendez
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit milwaukeenns.org.
The spring primary election is right around the corner, and we want you to have the information you need to vote.
What’s on the line
The spring primary is on Feb. 15. The biggest race on the ballot is between seven candidates vying to finish former Mayor Tom Barrett’s term. Two candidates will move on to the general election on April 5.
The mayoral candidates will appear on the ballot in this order: Former Ald. Bob Donovan, community activist Ieshuh Griffin, entrepreneur Michael Sampson, state Sen. Lena Taylor, Sheriff Earnell Lucas, Ald. Marina Dimitrijevic and Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson. The order was determined by a random draw by the Milwaukee Election Commission.
Other local races on the ballot include Milwaukee County Supervisory Districts 1, 3 and 12; and two aldermanic races in Wauwatosa. You can see what’s on your ballot by visiting Vote411.org or MyVoteWi.org.
Before you vote or voting early
To vote, you must be registered. Check your registration status here or call the city at 414-286- 3491. You can also register to vote, change your voting address or vote early at a number of sites, including the Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway, or at several public libraries. You can find all the sites and schedules here. Voter registration, including address changes, ends on Friday, Feb. 11 at all locations.
If you’re voting early and in person, you will need a Wisconsin-issued driver’s license or another acceptable form of photo ID. Here’s a list of acceptable identification. If you need to update your address since the last time you voted and your ID doesn’t have a current address, you’ll also need proof of residence, said Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission. Here is a list of acceptable proofs of residence. You have until Feb. 11 to register and vote early at most locations, but if you are registered to vote at your current address you can still vote early at some sites on Feb. 12.
You still have time to request an absentee ballot, but not much. According to Woodall-Vogg, you should request an absentee ballot by mail at least 10 days before the election. She said those who received an absentee ballot for the presidential election in 2020 won’t automatically receive a ballot this time. Only those who are indefinitely confined will. If you are requesting an absentee ballot online again, you won’t need to verify your ID this time, she said.
Absentee ballots can be returned to any of the early voting sites, and absentee ballot drop boxes, which became common during the pandemic, will be allowed this election.
How to get your absentee ballot
Here are the different options you have.
Online: You can request a ballot online at MyVoteWisconsin.
By mail: Download this Application for Absentee Ballot, complete it and mail it with a copy of your photo ID (if not previously provided) to, Election Commission, 200 E Wells St., Room 501, Milwaukee, WI 53202.
By email: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with a copy of your photo ID (if not previously provided). If you can’t or don’t want to attach the Application for Absentee Ballot to your email, you can be sent a ballot by providing the following information in the text of your email: Your full name, voting address, a request for a spring election ballot, and by providing a mailing address if it’s different from your registered voting address.
Voting on Feb. 15
As always, you have the option to vote in-person on the day of the election. This year, 180 polling places will be open, some at local firehouses. Woodall-Vogg said that some ward numbers and polling locations have changed due to redistricting. To find out where your polling site is you can check on the City of Milwaukee portal by clicking MyVoteWi.gov. or call 414-286-VOTE (8683).
You can register to vote on site that day by bringing an acceptable photo ID and proof of residence. If you’re already registered to vote, make sure you have your ID and are at the correct polling site. Polling places will require masks and that voters maintain a safe social distance.
For more information on voting, you can call the City of Milwaukee Election Commission at 414-286-3491 or email email@example.com.