Let your voice be heard

Let your voice be heard

Story by Corydon Fish

By Corydon Fish

The first set of elections in Wisconsin is right around the corner.

On Feb. 21, citizens will select candidates for local office in primary elections across the state. In Eau Claire, there will be an election for the municipal school board.

Normally elections like these rarely interest college students, though they should.  This election determines what property taxes you will have to pay when you rent a house in Eau Claire (the cost of the tax is passed on from the landlord to renters via rent).

It will determine to what extent Gov. Walker’s policies in regards to public sector unions are put into place and it will help determine the quality of education that the children in Eau Claire receive.

While these elections are not as glamorous as a presidential election or the recall elections, the outcomes of this school board election, and municipal elections like these arguably affect the daily lives of average citizens more than a gubernatorial or presidential election ever could.

As students who will spend roughly half a decade of our lives in Eau Claire, we are invested in the outcomes of these local elections, so get informed about the candidates and the new voting procedures, then go vote.

Recently, election laws have changed in Wisconsin.  You have to prove your residency to register to vote, and you have to prove your identity to vote.

Luckily, there is an easy way to do this!

Our university has created a new identification card that students can use when they vote.

Any student can receive this new ID card for $2 from the Blugold Card Office, which is located in Davies 156.

This card can be used to prove your residency in Eau Claire, and can be used to prove your identity.

To register prior to Election Day, students have to go to the city municipal building (203 S. Farwell St.) and fill out a registration form with the city
clerk’s office.

Registration forms can seem complicated, but they really just require a few key pieces of information.

First, if you have a Wisconsin driver’s license, you will have to use the identification number from the license when you register.  If you don’t have a Wisconsin driver’s license, then you can use the last four digits of your social security number.

Second, if you have been registered to vote elsewhere in the state, then you have to remember the address where you were previously registered.

Third, if you register to vote less than 28 days before an election, the clerk will ask you to prove your residency in Eau Claire. The clerk has a list of all students enrolled at Eau Claire, so your ID in conjunction with your name on the list will prove your residency.

Once you register to vote, all you have to do is show up on Election Day!

When Election Day rolls around on Feb. 21, you’ll have to know where your polling place is.

If you don’t know what ward you are in or where your polling location is, then go to the Eau Claire municipal webpage (www.eauclairewi.gov) and look under the “elections” tab to easily remedy the situation.

When you go to your polling place you will need an ID.   The easy forms of identification are a driver license or a new student ID.

Same-day registration is still available at your polling place, but you will have to follow the steps listed above in order to register.

Don’t let the changes to elections laws stop you from exercising your right to vote.  The changes may seem complicated, but once you go through the process once, they really are quite simple.

Get informed and vote.  Let your voice be heard.