FYI / November 6th Election: Resources for Residential Service Providers and their Residents
Residential service providers can play an important role in supporting residents to assert their right to vote. The November 6th election includes many important state and federal offices. The Department of Health Services is sharing the following information on behalf of Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) and the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition to help you and your residents be prepared for the November 6th election. DRW is the Protection and Advocacy Agency for Wisconsinites. DRW receives federal funding as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) to provide education, training, and assistance to individuals with disabilities that will promote their full participation in the electoral process, including registering to vote, casting a vote and accessing polling places. Much of their voting work is advanced through the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition. They can be a resource if you have questions about voting in Wisconsin.
This email includes some key information about voting for residents of residential care facilities, and links to additional information and resources about voting and the November election. We hope these resources are helpful.
Absentee Voting in Residential Care Facilities and Retirement Homes
Voting is a constitutional right. The Legislature recognized that it is difficult for some individuals to get to their polling place on election day, including individuals residing in residential care facilities such as a nursing homes, community based residential facilities (CBRF), residential care apartment complexes, and adult family homes. To encourage residents to participate in the electoral process, special procedures have been established for absentee voting in residential facilities. This includes the use of Special Voting Deputies (SVD) who helps to administer an absentee ballot. A Special Voting Deputy will visit if:
a. There are at least 5 people registered to vote in the municipality where the facility is located; and
b. At least one resident has requested an absentee ballot for the election.
c. The clerk may also choose to send Special Voting Deputies if the facility does not meet the statutory threshold whereby they are required to send Special Voting Deputies.
Note: Contact the Municipal Clerk for the community where the facility is located to determine if a Special Deputy will visit.
Resources from the Wisconsin Election Commission on Absentee Voting in Residential Care Facilities and Retirement Homes
Click on the following links to access Wisconsin resources which explain the procedures for absentee voting in Wisconsin residential care facilities and qualified retirement homes. These procedures have been developed in order to encourage residents of these facilities to participate in the process of choosing their elected representatives.
Frequently Asked Questions about the November 6th Election
DRW and the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition have developed an “FAQ” document with some of the most common questions we receive about the November 6th Election, and brief responses. It is posted on our website. We encourage you to review this document, which includes a lot of the basics about voting in Wisconsin, as well as information about disability related accommodations. Check out the November 6th Election FAQ for answers to common questions about voting.
Competency, Guardianship, and Voting in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, a person under guardianship retains the right to vote unless the court expressly removes it. DRW has a brochure with information on Competency, Guardianship and Voting. If an individual is under guardianship and unsure of their right to vote, the Court’s decision regarding the right to vote will be recorded on a court form called “A Determination and Order on Petition for Guardianship Due to Incompetency.” (GN-3170). The language in the court order will not specifically say that the person has retained the right to vote, however, a box will be checked if the right has been removed. If someone is under guardianship and not sure if they have the right to vote, here’s how to learn more:
o Ask their guardian to look at the “Determination and Order form” mentioned above to see if their right to vote was removed. A copy of this form may be requested from Probate Court in their county (costs about $2.00 to get a copy).
o Contact the Municipal Clerk for their community. The Clerk can check the list they receive from the state of individuals adjudicated incompetent and ineligible to vote. A person who has a guardian and has lost the right to vote may petition the court to restore their right to vote (Wis. Stat 54.64(2)(a)).
Resources for Voting Questions
- Wisconsin Elections Commission Toll free help line: 1-866-VOTE-WIS, staffed Monday – Friday from 7:45 AM – 4:30 PM. Questions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- MyVote Wisconsin Resource for voters to check out their information including if they are registered to vote, what is their polling place, and view what’s on the ballot. Voters may also register online. October 17, 2018 is the last day to register online for the November 6 election.
- Bring It to the Ballot Information about Photo ID for voting.
- Wisconsin Municipal Clerks are responsible for administering elections for their municipality. The Clerk is a resource for your voting questions, including questions about absentee voting.
Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline 1-844-DIS-VOTE is a resource for disability related questions about voting, including voting rights, and help addressing a concern or filing a complaint.
- Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition Provides resource information, as well as providing some training and outreach support for voters with disabilities and providers. Coordinated by DRW and Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. Call DRW at 414-773-4646 or see their Facebook page.
Thank you for helping inform people about their voting rights and the process of voting.