What to know about the Wisconsin primary vote
WALWORTH COUNTY Q: What races will be on the ballot Tuesday?
A: The only statewide race is the primary for U.S. Senate. And the only contested primary is on the Republican side where there are four candidates. They are former Gov. Tommy Thompson, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, businessman Eric Hovde and state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin is the only Democrat in the race. While that's the only statewide race, there are two congressional seat primaries, 44 primaries in the Legislature including 15 with incumbents.
Q: Is the Senate race a big deal?
A: Yes, it is. The seat is open due to the retirement of Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl. Republicans see it as a chance to gain a seat as they try to win majority control of the Senate. Republicans haven't held the seat since 1957. Republicans and outside groups have already spent millions in the primary and the battle against Baldwin in the fall is expected to be one of the premier races nationwide.
Q: What other races should I care about?
A: There are many other intriguing local races. The Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District seat that covers Madison pits two state representatives against one another ‚Äî Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys. Roys, elected to the Legislature in 2008, has run a bevy of attack ads against Pocan, a 14-year veteran. Pocan argues his experience and reputation for taking on Republicans make him the better candidate. Two lesser known newcomers are also on the Democratic ballot. The only other congressional primary is in the 6th District where Rep. Tom Petri, who has served in Congress for more than 30 years, faces tea party challenger Lauren Stephens. In the Legislature, five Assembly Republican incumbents and nine Democrats face a primary challenge. One incumbent senator, Luther Olsen of Ripon, is the only one in the Senate who faces a challenger.
Q: I don't understand redistricting and I have no idea who represents me now. On top of that, I don't even know if I'm registered to vote. How can I find out?
A: Voters can check their registration status, find a polling place and see a sample ballot at: http://vpa.wi.gov
Q: Can I vote in the Republican Senate primary and also for a Democrat in a different primary?
A: No. Wisconsin has an open primary, which means you don't have to declare which party you intend to vote for when you get your ballot. However, in a primary you must either vote for all Democratic candidates or all Republicans, not mix and match.
Q: But I could do that in the May primaries for the recall elections. What's different?
R: The recall elections targeting Gov. Scott Walker and four other Republicans were each treated as separate elections, so voters could switch from one party to another.
Q: What time do the polls open?
A: They are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Q: I had an absentee ballot mailed to me but haven't returned it yet. Am I too late?
A: No, but don't dawdle. It must be postmarked by Tuesday and be received in your municipal clerk's office by 4 p.m. Friday.
Q: I forgot to register to vote. Am I out of luck?
A: No, you can register at the polls. Just be sure to bring proof of residence, which includes a current utility bill, lease, university identification card, or other official document showing your name and address. You must have lived at your current address for at least 28 days to register at the polls.
Q: What should I do if I see misconduct at the polls?
A: The Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, says the first person to talk with is the chief election inspector at the polling place. If the issues can't be resolved by that person, you should contact the municipal clerk's office or local law enforcement. Complaints or issues not resolved can be forwarded to the GAB.
Q: I've heard talk about needing a photo ID in order to vote. Do I need to bring one Tuesday?
A: A photo ID is not required for Tuesday's election. A court injunction has blocked that requirement from being in place.
Q: But weren't there other changes that are in place?
A: Yes, there are other changes affecting voting. One of the most noticeable is that voters are now required to sign poll books when obtaining their ballot. And, as mentioned before, voters attempting to register at the polls must have lived at their current address for at least 28 days.
Q: I thought the primary was in September. When did it get moved to August and why?
A: This is the first time since 1946 that Wisconsin's fall primary is in August. It was moved in order for the state to be in compliance with the federal law dealing with timelines for sending and receiving ballots to military members and others living overseas.
Q: Is it going to be crowded at the polls?
A: The GAB predicts 20 percent of the voting age population ‚Äî about 870,500 voters ‚Äî will turn out. The highest primary turnout in the past 20 years was 21 percent in 1992.
Q: What's the weather forecast?
A: As of now, it looks sunny and pleasant across all of Wisconsin.