National Voter Registration Day: Get Ready to Make Your Voice Heard

white sign with a picture of an American flag and the words "vote here."Today has National Voter Registration Day—a good time to remind everyone register to vote so that all eligible voters can make their voices heard on Election Day (which, by the way, is Tuesday, November 8). While Wisconsin allows same-day voter registration, save yourself the time and the hassle of doing it all on Election Day and register now.

You can register to vote online at MyVote up to 20 days before Election Day (para MiVoto en español, haga clic aquí), by mail up to 20 days before Election Day. This year, that means the deadline for online or mail registration is October 19, 2022.

You can also register in person at your municipal clerk’s office until the Friday before Election Day, and you can register at your polling place on Election Day.

I’ll explain how to register online at MyVote, but first let me explain who is eligible to register to vote in Wisconsin.

Eligibility to Vote
You are eligible to vote in Wisconsin if:
* you are a United States citizen, and
* you are 18 years old by or on Election Day, and
* you have lived for at least 28 consecutive days before Election Day in the election district or ward in which you want to vote, and
* you are not in prison on a felony conviction or on parole, probation, or extended supervision at the time of the election (also called “on paper).

If you are a student at one of Wisconsin’s colleges or universities and are originally from another state, you can still vote in Wisconsin (but you cannot, of course, vote in both your home state and Wisconsin). And if you’re a Wisconsin resident but at a Wisconsin college or university away from your hometown, you can vote where your college or university is.

Getting Ready to Register Online
Once you have determined you are eligible to vote in Wisconsin, you will need to register. If you have moved since the last time you voted, you will want to make sure you update your registration.

You can register online at MyVote if: (1) you are already 18 years old; (2) you have an unexpired Wisconsin driver’s license or Wisconsin state identification card; and (3) your name, address, and date of birth on file at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) match the name, address, and date of birth you are using to register to vote. Let’s talk about each of these in turn.

First, to register online, you need to already be 18 years old. Those who will be 18 years old on or by Election Day can vote, but they will have to register through the hard copy paper process or in person on Election Day.

Continue ReadingNational Voter Registration Day: Get Ready to Make Your Voice Heard

GOP Appeal in Wisconsin Redistricting Case Could Have Far-reaching Impact—If U.S. Supreme Court Takes It Up  

This blog post continues the focus of the Law School’s Lubar Center on redistricting

A Republican appeal of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s legislative redistricting decision earlier this month could have national significance for the federal Voting Rights Act, according to a Marquette University law professor. To that extent, at least, others agree.

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of GOP state lawmakers, the federal justices could allow so-called “race-neutral” redistricting nationwide, says Marquette Professor Atiba Ellis, who has written about the landmark 1965 civil rights law. Combined with previous high court decisions reducing the strength of other parts of the Voting Rights Act, such a ruling would amount to “erasing the efforts of Reconstruction” and going back to a time before the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution extended voting rights to people of color, Ellis fears.

“That’s my worst-case scenario,” he says.

Not all agree, of course, and much is uncertain or debatable, even the timing: The U.S. Supreme Court might hold off on a decision until after the fall elections, allowing a map drawn by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and approved by the state supreme court to be used for those contests, says Robert Yablon, associate professor of law at the University of Wisconsin.

Or the justices might refuse to take up the appeal at all, says Mel Barnes, an attorney at Law Forward, the legal organization that is representing three voting rights groups in the case.

Continue ReadingGOP Appeal in Wisconsin Redistricting Case Could Have Far-reaching Impact—If U.S. Supreme Court Takes It Up  

Republicans Could Get Last Word on Redistricting—as Democrats Did in 1983  

You may have heard that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will be deciding legislative district lines that will stand for the next decade.

It might happen that way. But if Republicans win back the governor’s office and retain control of both houses of the Legislature this fall, they could redraw the map next year to favor their party even more than any of the GOP-leaning options the high court might choose.

That’s what Democrats did when they were in the same position 40 years earlier, although the 1983 Democratic effort differs significantly from the Republican-engineered 2011 redistricting plan that Democrats have denounced as an extreme partisan gerrymander.

A Supreme Court opinion in the current case will leave the door open for Republicans to redraw the map if they are in charge of both the legislative and executive branches.

Continue ReadingRepublicans Could Get Last Word on Redistricting—as Democrats Did in 1983