Absentee voting for presidential election and how to register as a UWL student

Morgan Hose, Student Government Reporter

Election Day is Nov. 3, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic the voting process for this election may be different for some voters, many are opting for absentee ballot voting. 

For those voting for the first time this year, the absentee ballot circumstances may be unclear as they vary from state to state. One-in-ten eligible voters will be members of Generation Z, or in other words, the Americans who will be between the ages 18 and 23 this election year.  

Before you can vote, however, you will need to register to vote. If you have not registered, you can do so online or on election day if you are voting face-to-face. You can use myvote.wi to check to see if you are registered to vote. Many students that lived in the residence halls last year may be registered to vote, but for the incorrect address.  So it is important for previously registered voters to be aware of what information needs to be updated. 

To register for absentee ballot voting, you can either register at your permanent home address or through your La Crosse address. For some states an excuse is required to obtain an absentee ballot, however, Wisconsin allows anyone to obtain an absentee ballot with no explanation. 

Once registered to vote, you can decide how you want to vote for the presidential election. There are a few options for this election: voting in person at a polling station or on the UWL campus, requesting an absentee ballot and mailing it back in, or requesting an absentee ballot and returning it in person to either a polling station or the La Crosse City Clerk’s Office

If you are leaning towards voting via absentee ballot, request one as soon as possible as mail is predicted to be delayed in the days leading up to the election. Due to funding problems and a political debate on whether to maintain the federal postal service as a necessary agency, there is worry about absentee ballot circulation. 

If you are worried about your ballot not being received and counted in time, you can drop it off at the City Clerk’s Office starting 14 days before the election and before 5 p.m. on election day, regardless of if you are registered in La Crosse or your home town. 

To vote absentee you must vote in the presence of one adult witness who is over the age of 18, a U.S. citizen, and is not a candidate for the election and the witness must verify this by signing the ballot and providing their address.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse will offer on-campus voting in The Student Union on Nov. 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., however that could change throughout the semester depending on COVID-19. Student Association will be releasing more information on what that will look like as time gets closer to Election Day.   

For information specific to the City of La Crosse, refer to this website. For General Election questions in Wisconsin, such as what’s on your ballot, click here.

If you have specific questions as a college student, refer to this guideAs COVID-19 has increased concerns for voting this election year, the voting process is subject to change. For any other general election questions, you can call the La Crosse City Clerk’s Office at 608-789-7510.