Voting in Wisconsin is important.
That’s why we compiled the essential information, from registering to vote to figuring out that whole “do I need an ID” thing, so that you’re equipped to vote with ease come Election Day.
So you want to vote in Wisconsin…
You are eligible to vote if you:
- Will be 18 years old by election day,
- Are a U.S. citizen,
- And have resided in Wisconsin for at least 28 days before the election in which you intend to vote.
You cannot vote in Wisconsin if you:
- Are a convicted felon that is currently “on paper.” You can vote again if your sentence is fully completed (including your probation or parole).
- Have been declared mentally incapable to vote by a judge.
- Have cast a bet or wager on the election.
What does it mean to Reside in Wisconsin?
It means that you have lived in Wisconsin for at least 28 days, and you have an intent to reside here. That doesn’t mean that you have to intend to live here forever, just that you have no present intent to move.
You can choose whether you want to vote at your school address or at your parents’ address (just not both, of course). And if your parents live out of state, why wouldn’t you want to vote here? Wisconsin legislators will be making the rules that affect your education! Shouldn’t you have a say in that?
If you’ve been convicted of a crime:
You are only disqualified from voting if you’ve been convicted of a felony and are still “on paper,” or serving a sentence, whether that is incarceration, parole, or probation. Once you’re off paper, you are eligible to vote (unless your conviction was for treason or bribery).
If you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor, you can still vote even if you’re on paper.
Got questions? Give us a call at 608-336-3232.
The first step to voting in Wisconsin is registering to vote. Even if you’re already registered, we recommend checking your status here.
There are four ways to register to vote:
Option 1: Register online
You can register to vote online through the Wisconsin Election Commission website through October 14, 2020 for the November general election. (You can still register in-person up to and on Election Day.) When registering online:
- Have your Wisconsin DMV-issued driver’s license or ID with current address ready
- Other forms of identification are not accepted online, but may be accepted when to vote by mail or in person
- You will enter your name, birthday, & answer a few eligibility questions, and enter your driver’s license number & confirm your address.
Option 2: Register By Mail
- Fill out and print this application.
- Mail it back to your municipal clerk. You can find the address here.
- If you don’t have a printer, call your clerk and ask them to send you an application.
- Your mailed application must be postmarked by October 14, 2020 for the November 3 general election.
Note that your application may not be postmarked the same day you put it in the mail, so be sure to check with your mail carrier or post office to ensure your letter is postmarked in time!
- You must include a copy of a valid proof of residence when you mail back your registration application. Proof of residence documents must include the voter’s name and current residential address. Examples of a valid proof of residence include, but are not limited to:
- Utility bill (such as gas, electric, or telephone) no earlier than 90 days before Election Day.
- ID or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit (including a hunting or fishing license issued by Wisconsin DNR)
- Real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
Option 3: Register In Person Before Election Day
- Register in-person at your municipal clerk’s office before Election Day. Find your municipal clerk’s information here.
- To register in person, you will need to provide proof of Wisconsin residency.
- Examples of a valid proof of residency include but are not limited to an ID issued by a Wisconsin governmental body such as a Drivers License or hunting or fishing license
- Utility bill, bank or credit card statement
- A residential lease effective on date of registration
- When registering in person, you can show your proof of residence electronically on your smartphone, laptop or table. However, you will not be given WiFi access.
Option 4: Register In Person On Election Day
In Wisconsin, everyone is eligible to vote absentee – no excuse needed!
The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the November general election is 5pm on Thursday, October 29. We strongly encourage absentee ballots to be requested and returned as early as possible to avoid delays.
Option 1: Request a ballot online
- First, we recommend taking a photo or scanning your ID first. If this is your first time requesting an absentee ballot online, you will have to upload a picture of your ID at the end of the request process.
- Visit MyVote.wi.gov and follow the steps to request your Absentee Ballot.
- Be sure to confirm your registration and mailing address. Ballots are not automatically forwarded by USPS, even if your other mail is.
Option 2: Request a ballot by mail
- Fill out and print a copy of the Wisconsin Election Commission Absentee Ballot request form.
- If you don’t have a printer, contact your municipal clerk and request a form be sent.
- Return your absentee ballot request to your municipal clerk & include a copy of your photo ID.
To complete an Absentee ballot, follow these steps.
- You’ll need a witness that is a US Citizen and over the age of 18.
- Show your blank ballot to your witness. They should witness you completing your ballot but shouldn’t see who you’re actually voting for.
- When done, fold your ballot & put it in the certificate envelope.
- Complete the certification on the envelope and make sure that any pre-filled fields are correct.
- Your witness should complete their part of the certification, including their address so your vote counts.
- Return your absentee ballot as soon as possible. Ballots must be received by 8pm on Election Day in order to be counted. You can:
- Put your ballot in the mail
- Return it to your municipal clerk’s office before Election Day.
- Return it to a ballot drop box if offered in your municipality. Some drop box locations have witnesses at certain hours who will witness your ballot and check your certification to ensure your ballot will be counted.
- In most municipalities, you can return your ballot on Election Day. Some municipalities have a central counting and collection location for absentee ballots on Election Day, so be sure to check with your local clerk.
- Reminder: double check your envelope. Ballots without voter signature, witness signature and/ or witness address will not be counted.
In person Absentee Voting is also known as Early Voting.
- Early voting begins two weeks before Election Day. For the November general election, early voting can occur between Tuesday, October 20th – Sunday, November 1.
- Locations, dates and times vary by municipality. Some municipalities may offer early voting by appointment only. Contact your Municipal Clerk to confirm hours of operation.
- To vote early in-person, you will need to bring an acceptable form of ID.
- You can register in person during early voting if you bring proof of residence with you.
- The last day to register in person when voting early is Friday, October 30th. If you are not registered on Saturday, October 31st, you can register at the polls when voting on Election Day.
- You have the right to vote curbside if you are voting early in person.
On Election Day, polls are open 7am – 8pm.
- Find your polling place at myvote.wi.gov.
- You need to show an acceptable for of ID to vote.
- If you are in line when polls close, stay in line. Anyone in line when the the polls close at 8pm must be allowed to vote.
- Call our Voter Assistance Hotline at 608-336-3232 if you have questions or issues voting on election day.
- NOTE: Given the coronavirus pandemic, we strongly encourage absentee voting for your health and others.
Special In Person Voting Options
If you are elderly, immunocompromised, symptomatic for COVID-19, or otherwise subject to high risk, you can choose to vote curbside on Election Day and during Early Vote instead of voting inside. It is your right to vote curbside if needed.
To vote curbside:
- Be sure to have your valid photo ID ready.
- Some municipalities may allow full drive through voting lines.
- If your municipality does not have full drive through voting lines, contact the poll workers from outside at your car. There should be a sign with a number to call or a bell to ring.
- If there is no signage or the bell does not work, please report this by calling our hotline at 608-336-3232.
- Two poll workers will come to your vehicle and assist you in voting without having to leave your vehicle.
Mask Wearing at Polling Locations
Poll workers and poll observers are currently required to wear masks under Governor Evers’ face covering mandate, but voters cannot be required to wear masks as a condition of voting. That said, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask while voting to protect your community from the ongoing pandemic.
In most cases, you should not have to remove your mask to confirm your identity, however, the Wisconsin Election Commission reserves the right to ask you to do so.
Wisconsin Voters should show an acceptable form of ID when voting in person or by absentee. (There are of course a few exceptions.) Chances are, you probably have at least one of these acceptable forms of ID already.
Some kinds of ID are valid even if they have expired, so long as they expired after the last general election (currently, that’s November 6, 2018). Further, these IDs do not need to show your current address:
- A Wisconsin DMV-issued drivers license (even if your driving privileges are suspended or revoked)
- A Wisconsin DMV-issued photo ID
- A United States passport
These kinds of ID need to be unexpired (but don’t need to show your current address):
- Veteran’s photo ID issued by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Certificate of naturalization issued on or after November 6, 2018
- Driving receipt or ID card receipt issued by the WI DMV (valid for 45 days)
- Wisconsin DMV ID petition process photo receipt (valid for 180 days)
These kinds of ID can be expired at any time (even before November 6, 2018):
- Tribal ID card from a federally recognized tribe in Wisconsin
- Student ID card from a Wisconsin-accredited university or college AND proof of enrollment (which must be current)
A special note on Student IDs.
A photo ID card from a Wisconsin-accredited university, college, or technical college, is a valid voting ID only if it contains:
- Your signature
- The date the card was issued
- An expiration date that was less than 2 years after the card was issued (but the card can be expired now)
- You will also need to show a document (which you can show electronically if voting in person) that proves enrollment, such as a tuition fee receipt, enrollment verification letter, or class schedule.
If you’re a UW student, your WisCard may not be voter ID compliant, but your campus makes a free student voting ID available, and you can obtain an Enrollment Verification Letter from your online student account. Marquette also provides students with free voting IDs. If you have trouble obtaining a photo ID from your college or university, call the Voter Assistance Hotline at 608-336-3232, and we will help you figure it out!