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Politics

What to Know About Drive-Through Voting and Other Ways to Vote Before Nov. 3

drive-through open only to City of EC residents, but anyone in Wisconsin can vote absentee

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

Drive-through absentee voting began in Eau Claire on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Drive-through absentee voting began in Eau Claire on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Surprise! It’s an election year! Oh, you’d noticed? What was it that clued you in: The robocalls, the postcards, the nonstop barrage of advertising on every available platform? Whatever it was, now that Election Day – Tuesday, Nov. 3 – is almost upon us, you may be wondering what you need to do to vote. Here are a few things to know that will help you with the process.

NEED TO REGISTER?

If you’re a first-time voter, if you’ve moved, or if you just want to double-check that you are actually registered to vote, visit myvote.wi.gov. There you can confirm your registration, request an absentee ballot, learn what kind of photo ID you’ll need, locate your polling place, and see what will be your your ballot. If you aren’t registered to vote already, it’s too late to do so by mail or online (the deadline was Oct. 14). However, you can still register in person by 5pm Friday, Oct. 30, at your municipal clerk’s office. Find out where that is by putting in your address here.

WANT TO VOTE ABSENTEE?

Anybody in Wisconsin can get an absentee ballot by mail, an especially useful fact during a pandemic. However, you need to request one by 5pm on Thursday, Oct. 29, and it has to be returned by 8pm on Tuesday, Nov. 3 – when the regular polls close – or else it won’t be counted. If you haven’t requested an absentee ballot already, do it pronto at myvote.wi.gov. Once you’ve filled the ballot out, you can return it by mail – but keep in mind that it has to get back to local election officials by Nov. 3!

If you’d rather hand-deliver it, you can do that, too: If you live in the City of Eau Claire, you can drop your ballot off at the elections office at City Hall (203 S. Farwell St.) between 8am and 5pm Monday-Friday; you can place it in an official City of Eau Claire ballot drop box at City Hall or at any of three Festival Foods locations (2717 Birch St., 3007 Mall Drive, and 2615 N. Clairemont Ave.); or you can bring it to your polling site on Election Day between 7am and 8pm. If you live in another community, contact your municipal clerk’s office for details about absentee options.

WANT TO VOTE EARLY BY DRIVE-THROUGH?

City of Eau Claire residents can also cast in-person absentee ballots at a unique drive-through at City Hall between Tuesday, Oct. 20, and Friday, Oct. 30. For more information, go to www.eauclairewi.gov/government/our-divisions/elections. Here are some details about drive-through voting from the City of Eau Claire:

A vehicle is not required to use the service, which will be available as follows:

  • Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 20-22, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 23, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday: Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Monday-Thursday, Oct. 26-29, from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Friday: Oct. 30, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In anticipation of a large voter turnout, additional service tents have been added to South Dewey Street. South Dewey Street will be temporarily restricted to one-way traffic between Gibson Street and East Grand Avenue during drive-thru voting hours. Residents who wish to use the drive-through service should enter the area from the north, a four-way stop will be installed at Eau Claire Street and South Dewey Street (see attached map). Voters should follow signs or direction from a traffic control person stationed at the intersection.

City of Eau Claire residents can use the Drive-Through service to vote by absentee ballot, return a completed absentee ballot, or register to vote.

Poll workers will follow cleanliness and physical distancing guidelines and wear masks, we encourage voters to do the same.

For additional information on voting by absentee ballot, registration requirements, polling locations, and more visit our Elections page at EauClaireWi.gov/Elections.

For early voting options in other municipalities, contact your local election clerk.