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Cast Your Vote: What to Know for April 5 Election

As the presidential field narrows down leading into Wisconsin’s elections on April 5, it’s funny to think back just a few months ago, when our very own Governor Scott Walker threw his hat into the Republican ring. Although Walker was the first to drop out of the race, Wisconsin has still played a big part in the way the 2016 election season has played out.

The Republicans held two nationally televised events in Milwaukee, on Nov. 10, 2015, and March 29, 2016. The Democratic candidates also visited Milwaukee on Feb. 11. As a clear winner for either party has yet to be official, there is even more weight on each remaining state for their delegates.

In the general election, the Democratic candidate has won Wisconsin in every election since 1984, the year of Ronald Reagan’s lopsided win over Walter Mondale. But when it comes to voting in Door County, there is no standard. Despite voting for Barack Obama in the last two presidential elections, the peninsula leans Republican in presidential debates since 1964. In 1992, the county voted against Bill Clinton, but turned around to support his second term in 1996.

All eyes will be on Wisconsin on April 5 as it is the only presidential primary taking place on that day. No matter whom you choose, here are some things to know before Tuesday.

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Who is on my ballot?

On Jan. 5, a committee of Republican and Democratic Party representatives met to determine the candidates that will appear on your ballot. The committee looks at which candidates are well known and represented in national news media. When they came out of their meeting, it was still well before many of the candidates had announced they were dropping out of the race.

Republicans: Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Jim Gilmore, Chris Christie, Donald J. Trump, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, John R. Kasich, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz

Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders

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How Many Delegates Are in Wisconsin?

The primary processes for the Democratic and Republican nominees are independent from each other. Candidates for both parties are trying to earn delegates in each state.

The Republican candidates can receive a total of 42 delegates, but they are split up between the statewide vote and the eight congressional districts. Each of the eight congressional districts has three delegates up for grabs and the winner in each district earns all three of those delegates. The remaining 18 delegates go to the winner of the primary statewide.

A Republican candidate needs 1,237 delegates for the nomination.

The Democratic candidates can win 96 delegates; 57 of those delegates come from the eight congressional districts in the state. The 8th district, which includes Door County, accounts for six of them. The delegates in these districts are allocated proportionally to the primary vote within that district.

The other 29 delegates are allocated based on the statewide primary results. Ten of these delegates are known as Pledged Party Leader and Election Official (PLEO) delegates. They include the mayors of large cities, state legislators and county or locally elected officials. Senator Tammy Baldwin is a PLEO delegate and has already endorsed Hillary Clinton for the nomination. Then there are 19 superdelegates, who will vote for their nominee at the Democratic National Convention on July 25-28.

The remaining ten Democratic delegates are unpledged and do not have to follow the voting results of the state.

A Democratic candidate needs 2,383 delegates for the nomination.

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Uninstructed Delegates

On your ballot, you will also have the option of checking the box for an Uninstructed Delegate. Voting for an uninstructed delegate means you are telling Wisconsin’s delegation at the Democratic and Republican conventions that they can make the decision.

Your vote is a way of telling the delegation, whose vote goes directly toward the nomination, who they should vote for. A vote for an uninstructed delegate is your way of saying you are not committed to any single candidate, but are looking to support the choice of Wisconsin’s delegates, who are influenced by the rest of the state’s popular vote.

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Voting ID Laws

In order to vote, you will need to bring a Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) driver license, DOT identification card, Military ID card, U.S. passport, or identification card from a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin. Your address doesn’t need to be current, and the IDs listed above can be expired but still used to vote.

These forms of acceptable ID come after changes to voter ID laws that have been in the pipeline since a bill was signed by Governor Walker in 2011. April 5 will be the first major election that these laws will be in effect after litigation at the U.S. Supreme Court level delayed the bill’s enforcement.

The bill requires photo ID, which state and federal courts believed could ostracize some voters who have a great burden to obtain a government-issued photo ID. This burden includes things such as the cost of obtaining an out-of-state birth certificate, or people who, through no fault of their own, could not establish their identity under state rules.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project estimates that there are 300,000 eligible voters in Wisconsin who do not have valid IDs.

When Walker signed the bill in 2011, he said it was a way to combat voter fraud and uphold the integrity of elections in Wisconsin.

There are 19 states that require photo ID at the polls and 33 states enforce some kind of voter identification requirements.

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