New polling place rules likely to affect today's elections

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday is the first time Wisconsin voters will go to the polls under a series of new rules imposed by state lawmakers.

Here are five things you need to know before you go to the polls.

1. Know about registration. You still can register to vote at the polls, but rules have changed. You must be a resident of the jurisdiction in which you vote for 28 consecutive days instead of the previous 10 days.

You must present proof of residency, which could be a current Wisconsin driver's license or Wisconsin ID card. If you have never been issued a Wisconsin driver's license, you may register using:

-- A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year preceding the election.

-- A residential lease that is effective for a period that includes Tuesday.

-- A gas, electric or telephone service statement for the period commencing not earlier than 90 days before Tuesday.

If you're already registered, see below.

2.Know what to bring. You will not be allowed to vote without a valid photo ID.

A Wisconsin driver's license, passport, or Wisconsin ID card are the most common accepted forms of ID. If you have applied for a driver's license or state ID but have not received it yet, the receipt for those cards can be used as photo identification at the polls, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Your photo ID can even be expired, if it expired after Nov. 2, 2010.

If you don't have the correct ID, you may still cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are counted only if the voter shows proper ID at the local clerk's office by 4 p.m. Friday.

For more on this topic, go online to bringit.wisconsin.gov. Those who do not have Internet access can call toll-free, 1-866-868-3947. Local voting maps, articles about candidates and referendums, copies of ballots and other information also are available here.
3.Know where to go. Polling places have changed for some voters, especially in larger municipalities. To find out where you vote, go online to vpa.wi.gov. Rock County residents can check out the maps posted here or call their municipal clerks.

4.Know what to do. New rules require that you state your name and address to the poll worker, even if you have known each other all your lives. Then you must show your ID and sign the poll book. Signing the poll book also is new.

5.Know what's next. Remember this is just the beginning of an intense political season. The presidential preference primary is April 3, as are a variety of local, nonpartisan elections. The fall primary has been moved from September to the second Tuesday in August, and the presidential and congressional elections, among others, are Nov. 6.

And of course, Wisconsin is likely to have some recall elections this year.

Last updated: 7:41 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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