What Wisconsin Voters Need To Know For Tuesday's Primaries

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What Wisconsin Voters Need To Know For Tuesday's Primaries

Premiere Date: 
August 8, 2014

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy explains what voters should know when they head to the polls.

 

Episode Transcript: 

Frederica Freyberg:

Zac's story shows a different kind of reason to get out and vote in next Tuesday's primary, but there are plenty of things to know about as you head to the polls. A primary election day primer now with the director of the Government Accountablity Board, Kevin Kennedy. Thanks for being here.

Kevin Kennedy:

Thank you.

Frederica Freyberg:

So the number one thing I think that people might be thinking about is do they need an ID, a photo ID this time around.

Kevin Kennedy:

You do not need to show a photo ID in order to vote. The recent Supreme Court cases are still on hold because the federal court has issued a stay.

Frederica Freyberg:

And then also you were suggesting that people should beware of the fact that this is a partisan primary. So what does that mean for voters?

Kevin Kennedy:

That's right. This is the primary. So we're nominating candidates to see who's going to represent a party on a ballot. So you can only vote in one party. We have three ballots, the Republican party, the Democratic party and Constitution party. You pick one of those ballots. Most people vote on a single ballot where you make your choice up-front. If you vote for the Republican candidate, your Democratic votes aren't going to count. If you don’t pick a party up-front, the ballot will reject if you cross over.

Frederica Freyberg:

So it comes back to you and you get another chance if you’ve made a mistake in that way?

Kevin Kennedy:

You get two chances.

Frederica Freyberg:

What are you projecting turnout to be in Tuesday's primary? 

Kevin Kennedy:

We're expecting about 15% of the voting age population to turn out, that's a little over 600,000 voters. The partisan primary is not on many people's radar screen. You know, we don't have a statewide, real dynamic race. The attorney general on the Democratic side, we have a congressional contest in the 6th congressional district on the Republican side. But just not a lot of attention being paid to it. That's not unusual in this race, so 15% is not an unusual prediction.

Frederica Freyberg:

It's so low, though. I mean, really.

Kevin Kennedy:

It is unfortunately low. It's all the more reason why you should be out there and voting because that vote could make a difference in a close race.

Frederica Freyberg:

What is the status of early voting and absentee voting?

Kevin Kennedy:

There have been some changes to absentee voting. There's no longer any weekend voting at all. We eliminated the three days before the election a couple of years ago. Now the legislature's taken out all weekend voting, and all in-person absentee voting is going to happen between the hours of 7:00 in the morning-- I’m sorry, 8:00 in the morning and 7:00 at night. The hours may vary, but it won't be any later than 7:00 at night.

Frederica Freyberg:

And as this program airs, that's already over for Tuesday's primary, so we're speaking about going forward to the general election, those rules.

Kevin Kennedy:

That's right.

Frederica Freyberg:

Given that the general election for governor, we’re told, turns on turnout, any early projections on that?

Kevin Kennedy:

Well, last couple gubernatorial elections have been in the 50% range, so we'll start with that as we're looking, but you really have to see how do things look in October. Because people vote when they know their vote's going to make a difference. That's the single biggest driving factor for voters. So if it looks like it's a close race, you can expect a higher turnout. If it look like one of the candidates has a good edge, the turnout drops a little bit.

Frederica Freyberg:

All right. And just very quickly, anything else new at the polls that voters need to know?

Kevin Kennedy:

We have new rules in place for election observers. They may be sitting as close as three feet away from the tables where you check in or where you register to vote. But it's basically the same set of rules. Observers are there to watch the process, they have that right. But they can't interfere, they can't create a disturbance. And voters should still feel comfortable.

Frederica Freyberg:

All right. Kevin Kennedy, thanks very much.

Kevin Kennedy:

You’re very welcome.


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