Here are the key tasks fully engaged Wisconsin citizens should undertake to ensure a healthy vote in the state's Nov. 4 elections: First, they should maximize citizen impact by making sure eligible friends and family members vote, too. Second, they also should, if they can, encourage still others to vote and even register. Third, if possible they should help members of the community -- seniors and the disabled, for example -- who might have trouble getting to the polls, if those folks haven't already cast absentee ballots.
But the single most important step may be casting a hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballot, at least if you live in one of the 41 Wisconsin counties that use voting machines lacking verifiable paper trails.
Most people don't know it, but under state election law you have the right to insist upon a paper ballot, no matter what other, standard vote-recording method is used in your county. And for too many of us, a paper ballot may be the most reliable voting method, especially in a razor-thin election. Hand-marked ballots that are also hand-counted (as opposed to being scanned in electronically) aren't fool-proof, but seem to be more reliable than some of the other ways state citizens are asked to record their votes.