Learn how to register voters during a trio of training events in Superior and Duluth. Sponsored by Citizens Free School for Democracy, each standalone session is designed to equip volunteers to go out into the community and register voters prior to the 2020 elections.

Superior training takes place from 5-6 p.m. Oct. 7 and 8 in Room 207C of the Douglas County Courthouse. Learn how to register Minnesota voters from 5-6 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Central Hillside Community Center, 12 E. Fourth St., Duluth. Free pizza will be provided.

Free School founder Leslie Dollen, who worked as a public defender in Douglas County for 23 years, was prompted to offer the training after reading articles about people who wanted to vote in the 2018 midterm election, but didn’t know how.

“I thought of how many barriers there are to actually being able to vote,” Dollen said. “I decided that I want to help make it as easy as it can be for voters in the Twin Ports to exercise their powerful voice.”

She aims to encourage volunteers to register voters in disenfranchised and under-represented communities via “pop-up” events at area shelters, warrant resolution days and other venues.

“The power of the vote is ours, so let’s use it,” Dollen said.

Shannon Pettit, deputy clerk for the city of Superior, will lead the Superior sessions.

“I think it’s great,” she said of the training. “Obviously, we want people out there voting.”

Registering ahead of time is a time saver, both in the clerk’s office and at the polling site.

“It makes things much smoother and faster for the voters when they go to vote on election day,” Pettit said.

Residents vote at the Billings Park Community Center in Superior. (Telegram file)
Residents vote at the Billings Park Community Center in Superior. (Telegram file)

Only 70% of Douglas County residents who can vote are registered to do so. According to the Douglas County Clerk’s Office, there are 24,704 registered voters in Douglas County — 13,663 in Superior and 11,041 in the towns and villages. Yet, an estimated 35,340 Douglas County residents are of voting age.

People planning to attend a session are asked to email ldollen49@gmail.com to let organizers know.

Other registration options are available, such as contacting the clerk's office or visiting myvote.wi.gov.

“You can actually go to that website and it will show them which elections they voted in, where they’re currently registered, if they’re registered,” Pettit said. “It also gives them the option of registering online, requesting an absentee ballot. It’s a great source of information.”

The biggest barrier to online voter registration is when a person’s Department of Motor Vehicles information does not match their current residence, Pettit said. Proof of residence is needed to register to vote, while proof of identity is required when voting at the polls.

Voter registration event in Superior

National Voter Registration Day event Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. , Room 270, Government Center, Superior.

Proof of residency is required. The following documents will be accepted:

  • Current and valid Wisconsin driver license or identification card;
  • Official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body;
  • A photo identification issued by an employer;
  • A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year;
  • A residential lease, a university, college or technical institute identification card;
  • A utility or phone bill;
  • A bank statement, paycheck or check issued by a unit of government.