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State Warns of Misleading Information in Wisconsin Voters' Mailboxes

The Wisconsin Elections Commission says postcards with incorrect voter registration information are being sent to some Wisconsin voters. (BrianAJackson/iStockphoto)
The Wisconsin Elections Commission says postcards with incorrect voter registration information are being sent to some Wisconsin voters. (BrianAJackson/iStockphoto)
September 26, 2016

MADISON, Wis. – Another wave of voter registration and absentee ballot mailings has shown up in the mailboxes of Wisconsin residents, and the state says some contain misleading or incorrect information.

The National Rifle Association and other organizations are sending mailers directing people to return voter registration applications to the state, rather than their local municipal clerk.

Some groups are convinced it's a deliberate effort to mislead voters, but Reid Magney, public information officer for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, thinks not.

"I haven't seen any evidence that anyone is trying to purposefully mislead voters,” he states. “These groups spend a great deal of money trying to get people to register and get people to vote absentee. I think they just don't always do a very good job of it."

Wisconsin's election laws have recently been changing because of court decisions.

The state Elections Commission holds a news conference today to remind voters to very carefully examine any mail they receive regarding voter registration.

According to Magney, you don't need to fill out or send in the information requested in mailers from outside organizations, particularly if you're being told you're not registered to vote. He says it's best to find out directly, from the state.

"One of the better things you can do is go to the My Vote Wisconsin website, and the address for that is,” he says. “And at that website you can put in your name and your date of birth, and it'll tell you if you're registered."

Magney adds voter registrations must be delivered to your local municipal clerk's office.

Later this week, the Wisconsin Elections Commission will mail official postcards to just over a million state residents who are not registered to vote. These cards will have the official information.

But Magney reminds voters there's another option.

"On Election Day, you can always just show up at your polling place and register to vote,” he states. “Just make sure that you bring photo ID in order to get your ballot, and a proof-of-residency document, such as a utility bill, a tax bill – could be a residential lease, a paycheck with your address on it, some correspondence from a government agency."

The election is Nov. 8.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI