MADISON, WI – An independent mailing to Wisconsin voters encouraging them to request absentee ballots is causing confusion, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
The confusing mailer comes from the “Center for Voter Information,” which has a return mail address in Madison but is related to the Voter Participation Center, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C.
The mailers are labeled “Vote at home ballot form” and encourage voters to request an absentee ballot. WEC and local election officials are getting calls from voters who have already requested their absentee ballots, and who say they thought the mailer meant they had done something wrong and needed to make another request.
“If you have already requested an absentee ballot, you do not need to return this request form,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “You can go online to MyVote.WI.gov and check the status of your existing absentee ballot request.”
Voters who have not made a request, especially those who don’t have access to the Internet, are encouraged to send the forms to their municipal clerk’s office as soon as possible. While the legal deadline for most voters to request an absentee ballot is Thursday, April 2, waiting until then could result in not getting a ballot in time to vote because of USPS service. USPS recommends mailing your ballot at least one week ahead of the April 7 election for it to arrive at the clerk’s office in time.
Political and independent groups may legally send out voter registration forms and absentee ballot request forms to encourage voting, Wolfe said. However, the Commission’s advice to voters is to examine these mailers carefully before relying on them, especially the instructions on where to send registration forms or applications.
Past third-party mailings have had problems with voters being given the wrong clerk’s office or address. If the address does not seem right, you can find your municipal clerk’s address on the MyVote.WI.gov website or in the telephone directory. At MyVote, you can register online through March 30, check your voter registration status, and send a request to your clerk to vote absentee by mail through April 2.
Wolfe also encouraged voters to look for the Official Election Mail logo on letters and postcards, which will show that they are from an election official.
Voters who need to register or change their address can go to MyVote.WI.gov, Wisconsin’s voter services website, Wolfe said.