WISCONSIN – Nursing home voters will have the opportunity for assistance voting in the April 6 election, state officials said Friday.

Wisconsin Elections Commission officials determined on March 2 that county and municipal clerks must reach out to nursing homes and other eligible facilities to determine whether assisted voting is possible during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a memo from the commission.

Nursing home residents in need of assistance with reading a ballot could expect visits from special voting Deputies, officials who could read the ballot and instructions and mark the ballot according to the voter’s wishes. Under concerns about the coronavirus’s danger to elderly voters, state officials recommended that clerks not send deputies to nursing homes for any of the three 2020 elections.

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However, the deputies might not return to all nursing homes for absentee voting for the April 6 election. Administrators for those care facilities will ultimately determine – in discussions with the responsible clerk – whether or not they can safely allow deputies to return.

If deputies aren’t able to attend, administrators and staff can assist with witnessing and filling out ballots. Anyone who assists a voter in completing an absentee ballot must sign a portion of the absentee ballot indicating they helped, according to elections commission documents.

Deadlines

  • Voters can register through the mail until March 17.  Registration must take place in person at a clerk’s office following the March 17 deadline.
  • Voters must request an absentee ballot by April 6. Voters who self-certify they are indefinitely confined because of age, illness, infirmity or disability must make their request by April 2.
  • All absentee ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on election day to be counted.

More information is available online at elections.wi.gov/node/7364, by email at elections@wi.gov, or by phone at 608-266-8005.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.