Voting in our town

Interesting graphic about voting in our town that popped up on FB today. (This may explain what I mean by “town” for those who are unfamiliar with the local usage.) It may be helpful to know that the total population of the town is about 11,000, so the number of voter registrations correspond pretty closely to the size of the electorate. Twenty-seven days to the election; absentee ballots may be requested until October 29th; voters may register in person up to and including the day of the election. The GOP and the Dems are still fighting out in court whether ballots that arrive at the town up to the Saturday after election day can be counted. Given the high rate of covid-skepticism around here — I think on top of all of this, there will be plenty of people who vote in person — this election looks like it will be extremely high participation.


~ by Servetus on October 8, 2020.

19 Responses to “Voting in our town”

  1. 39.4% of registered voters have requested a ballot… does that mean a postal ballot? The rest will be able to vote in person?


    • Yeah — they requested a ballot mailed to them (which they can mail back, or they can deposit at the town office in person). That’s about four times the usual number (about 10 percent of voters in the state are normally voting absentee). Our town also has so-called “early voting,” which starts in about two weeks — you can go to the town office and vote by paper ballot on your own, apart from the polls. And then there’s the usual voting on the day of the general election from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. where you go in person to the polling place and you have a choice of paper ballot or electronic voting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks. Everything crossed. My husband has sent his absentee vote in (for California).


  3. This is encouraging, that so many people are motivated to vote! I hope it will also mean a good (i.e. Biden/Harris) outcome.


  4. Do you have to actually register to vote every election or is it just automatic? Here, if you file a tax return and check the box, you remain always registered. When you first turn 18 you would have to register.


    • It’s different in every state (the US Constitution leaves voting to the supervision of the states), but in WI, once you register, you stay on the rolls until you move. When you move you have to re-register. Theoretically you should be able to stay on the rolls as long as you live in one place, even if you don’t vote regularly or at all — but of course the GOP has been trying to restrict that possibility. You can’t register via tax form, though. You can register at the DMV or at the town clerk’s office, or at the polling place on the day of the election. There may be exclusively online registration now, too — not sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the info. At least people stay on the rosters if they haven’t moved.


        • right now, anyway. The GOP has been involved in several court actions to try to force the Wisconsin Elections Commission to remove people from the voter rolls if they don’t vote over a certain period of time, or fail to respond to paper mail, etc.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Use it or lose it? Ostensibly to get rid of people who no longer exist or have moved away I assume.


            • Yes — you’ve stated the GOP case very succinctly.

              The issue is that for particular populations (18-24 year olds; poor urban residents, especially Black people, Native Americans) postal address is not a reliable way to contact them. (For more on how housing works for African American residents of Milwaukee, consult Desmond Morris’ recent Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Evicted
     ). In essence, these populations have a difficult time proving their residence, and in some cases, their identities. So if they have managed to register once, that is no guarantee they will be able to register again or change their registration. (And don’t get me started on the problems of registering if a voter is homeless, either de facto or de jure — this has happened to a number of friends of mind over the years who showed up at the polls and discovered they could not register because they didn’t have a residence that met the standard for registration.)

              Also, in Wisconsin, there were 18 cases of voter fraud over the last two years in an electorate of 5.6M. So honestly, it’s really not a problem. Attempts to insist on verification end up knocking way more voters off the rolls than they prevent cases of voter fraud. In Wisconsin, anyway, 18 votes have never flipped an election, but there is a reasonable case to be made that efforts to “verify registration” kept voters away from the polls or prevented them from voting, and significantly influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Here, you can go and present ID on the day and proof of where you live (for electoral district purposes) and register on the spot. If you don’t have ID, you can have a registered voter with ID from your district vouch for you. But I believe that there is still an issue for people who are homeless, particularly because they don’t have a residential address. Although I think in the federal elections, you can get a letter from a shelter where you stay to prove your residence. Still, it’s not perfect.

                Yeah, 18 cases of voter fraud does not sound like much in a population that size, for sure.

                I watched our provincial leaders’ debate the other day. So Canadian, lol. Everyone waited their turn, did what the moderator said, and was extremely polite. Kind of boring after the other televise shenanigans!


                • That’s exactly what you can theoretically do here, as well. But let’s say you don’t drive. Then you need to have a state ID. You have to present a series of papers to get that. But you don’t need a state ID for anything else, so why have one? (In some places it’s easier to get a DL than a state ID — I’ve been hearing a series of problems from a friend in TX who is trying to get his son a state ID — he actually got his son a passport in order to get him the state ID, it was easier to get the passport.) Or what if your state ID has a postal address on it as opposed to a physical address? Physical address is required for voting (this is what messes the situation up for a lot of Native Americans, whose “address” is the reservation post office. So they conveniently don’t have proof of residence, even if the voting precinct will accept their tribal id as proof of identity — this is contested, the law says they must, the registrars don’t always — they can’t prove where they live because they don’t get bills or other correspondence there.) Or what if you have a DL for ID, but you don’t have auxiliary proof of residence (you’re not on the lease, you don’t get bills, etc.)? It all works very well for the traditional white middle class and I personally have never had any problem, but I know plenty of people who have personally, and I have read about many more cases. There are apparently a ton of people who don’t have birth certificates, for instance, and their births were never registered. They’ve been able to vote — until recently — but it’s very hard to get a DL without a birth certificate.

                  What the US really needs is something like a national identity card. But Dems and GOP are both opposed, basically for the same reason: because it would make life unmanageable for undocumented people. The Dems don’t want them to suffer, and the big business / big agriculture wing of the GOP wants to be able to continue to employ them illegally at rates below minimum wage.

                  I would really welcome an actual policy discussion in a televised setting. I don’t think any of our current candidates are really prepared for one, though. It’s all ideology, all the time, these days.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Sorry, I’ve been swamped the last couple of days. Yes, I can see that the ID issue is huge, especially people who are homeless or indigenous or just don’t have conventional lives. They’ve been moving towards everyone have a photo ID provincial services card here. The incentive is that it is tied to our provincial medical services plan, which just recently moved to premiums being paid only by employers. (i.e. people are covered through the plan regardless of whether they work or not; only employers pay). But even so, I think there is/will be a large part of the population who for whatever reason don’t get the card. I had issues getting my driver’s license when I first moved here because my birth certificate was a handwritten church issued document signed by a priest. I had to write away to get an actual card from Quebec before I could get the ID here.


                    • That’s how my parents got their DLs — with baptismal certificates. In like, 1957. Later they needed real birth certificates, which were extant but which they did not have. The whole thing with ID in the US is very much a house of cards.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’m going to take that back b/c I am pretty sure my dad had an occupational DL after he was 12 or 13, because most farmer’s kids did. My mother did not, though.

                      Liked by 1 person

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