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The cure to what ails us is the well-informed voter, and we’d like to help.

Cows. Beer. Close elections.

Ask people in 49 other states what comes to mind when they hear Wisconsin. Everyone now knows our state is an electoral battleground.

Our presidential elections almost always come down to practically the last ballot counted. And this year, that might be yours.

Some of you will vote for the first time in 2020. Others will vote for the first time by some other method like mail-in ballots or in-person early voting. Still others will be poll workers for the first time, helping fill a shortage brought on by coronavirus concerns. We’re going to cover these stories and much more at UpNorthNews.

We’re going to help increase participation in our democracy by explaining the voting process because it isn’t always simple, but it’s always important. That includes pointing out some of the barriers that others are trying to put between you and the voting booth. And it includes giving you clear, fact-based information on the important issues that should determine your vote, more so than just a party label or who has the best commercials.

Wait, you say, you’re busy and want to tl;dr version first? We can do that.

• To apply for an absentee ballot, see this page from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

• You can check your voter registration status at the Commission’s user-friendly site: MyVote.WI.gov

• If your name or address has changed, use this MyVote page for updating your registration record.

• For a review of all the types of identification that are and aren’t accepted at the polls, see the state’s BringIt.WI.gov website.

• And if you want to know where you vote on Nov. 3, check the MyVote page for polling places.

Our partners in other state-based newsrooms and our national team will be sharing some great stories as well at our parent site, COURIER’s Your Vote 2020 hub.

What’s your story? We’d love to hear it. What’s your plan to vote? What’s different about this election for you? What’s the most frustrating part of voting? And what makes you feel good about casting your ballot? We want your stories and questions. Send them to us at info@UpNorthNewsWI.com.

Bottom line: It is our desire and our mission to have you go into the voting booth feeling empowered, not overwhelmed. Democracy’s secret weapon is the well-informed voter. With enough of us, we can beat back any threat to American fairness and freedom.

Read us, watch us, make your plan, and let’s all go earn that cherished “I Voted” sticker!