Wisconsin Voting Information
Spring 2021 Election Deadlines and Information:
- Last day to register to vote online or by-mail: March 17, 2021
- Deadline for most voters to request an absentee ballot: April 1, 2021
- Spring Election: April 6, 2021
Why does voting for judges matter?
Judges play a critical and influential role in society. They can be the decision-makers in a range of matters, including criminal charges, home foreclosures, child custody cases, and civil lawsuits.
How do Courts of Appeals Work?
The court generally sits in three-judge panels to decide the merits of an appeal. Several categories of cases, however, are decided by a single judge:
- Small claims actions
- Municipal ordinance violations
- Traffic regulation violations
- Metal health, juvenile, contempt and misdemeanor cases
Appellate Court judges rule on cases originally decided in Circuit Court, via three-judge panels. At least two must agree for the court to issue an opinion. Appellate judges serve ten-year terms.
Circuit Court judges stand on the front-lines of the justice system. They hear all kinds of cases, from traffic matters to custody disputes to criminal cases. Circuit Court judges are elected to six-year terms, after which they must run for retention.
#CheckYourJudges. Things to consider when voting for a judge:
- Past controversy: Controversy in a candidate’s past may be an indicator of poor judgment, ethical failings, or inadequate knowledge of the law.
- Negative ratings: Bar associations interview candidates, review their careers and ask judges and attorneys who have worked with the candidates about their performance. (The associations base these ratings on qualifications, not political views, and negative scores are a strong signal that a candidate could make a poor judge).
- Former state’s attorney: History as a prosecutor is an important qualification in terms of experience. Still, there is some research indicating that former prosecutors may be less sympathetic to civil rights claimants, criminal defendants, and economically disadvantaged people.
- Former public defender: Practicing as a public defender could indicate experience in trying criminal cases. Former defense attorneys may be “more likely to be more sympathetic to defendants” in criminal cases, according to Professor Tonja Jacobi of Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law.
- Appointed judges: These individuals have been appointed by the state Supreme Court to temporarily fill a vacancy. Having experience as a judge is a positive qualification, and the vetting that accompanies the nomination process may screen out unqualified candidates.
Why does voting for State Superintendent of Public Instruction matter?
The office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is a complex non-partisan role.
The core role of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is operational leadership and administration of the department of education. Effectively, the Superintendent of Public Instruction serves as the state’s top education bureaucrat with a pulpit to influence the direction of education policies.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction stimulates interest in education and spread as widely as possible to improve schools.
The superintendent’s responsibilities include providing leadership for Wisconsin’s public school districts, providing the public with information about school management, attendance, and performance, licensing the state’s teachers, and receiving and disbursing federal aid for schools.
Where do I find information about candidates?
What do I need in order to vote?
Proof of residency for registration, proof of identity (valid photo ID) for casting your ballot.
General Election 2020 Deadlines and Information:
Election Day: November 3, 2020
Last day to register to vote: November 3, 2020. You can register to vote at your polling place on election day. Just make sure to bring your proof of residence
Last day to request a mail-in ballot: October 29, 2020 at 5 pm
Last day for official absentee ballot to be returned: November 3, 2020 at 8 pm
How do you register to vote or check your registration status?
- Online, at myvote.wi.gov
- At your municipal clerk’s office
- By mailing in a completed voter registration application
- At your polling place on election day. Just make sure to bring your proof of residence.
How to Return Your Absentee Ballot
- Submit your ballot at a designated drop box
- Submit your ballot at your municipal clerk’s office
- Vote in person at an early voting location
- Curbside voting at early voting sites throughout WI
- Find out more information at vote411.org/ballot
Voting by Mail
- Voting by mail, voting absentee, voting from home, all mean the same thing: your ballot will be mailed directly to you. It is your right.
- Voting by mail is safe and secure.
- You have to fill out an absentee ballot application to receive a mailed ballot. Once your application is received, your ballot will be mailed to you.
- Once you receive a mailed ballot, return it as soon as you can!
In Person Voting
- You can vote early in-person at locations designated by your municipal clerk.
- If you vote on Election Day, November 3, 2020, plan to vote at your polling location between 7 am and 8 pm. Remember: You have the right to vote if you are in line by 8pm.
- Be sure to bring your mask. If you do not have your ID, you can still cast a provisional ballot.
- Remember to bring a WI driver license, state-issued ID care, or another acceptable form of photo ID.
- Looking for a ride to your polling place? Call 608-285-2141 to hear from nonpartisan volunteers about options near you.
- Questions? Contact your municipal clerk. You can find their information here.
Register, request a mail-in ballot, find your polling place, and more:
or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE