Memo to Reporters: Early Voting Rules

May 22, 2012

To: Interested Reporters
Date: Wednesday, 23, 2012
From: Jennifer Lohr, Voter Protection Director, Democratic Party of Wisconsin
Re: Early Voting in this Summer’s Gubernatorial and State Senate Elections

Early, or absentee, voting in this summer’s gubernatorial and senate elections is central to ensuring voters have the ability and access to vote.

Wisconsin offers “No Excuse” absentee voting. It makes no difference whether or not an individual will be in the State or not on Election Day – voters are guaranteed the right to cast an absentee ballot for any reason.

Below are simple points on early voting both by mail and in-person for your viewers and readership.

**You do NOT need a photo ID for voting in the June 5 Elections.**

In-Person Early Voting
• Early voting in person began May 21 and runs through June 1.
• Clerks are required to make absentee voting available during normal business hours during this time period. However, many clerks offer extended hours for early in person voting. Check to find hours and location.

Municipal clerk’s office or alternate location. Check to find out where to vote by municipality. The site also includes the address for your local clerk and hours of operation.


• There is no need to be registered to vote ahead of time; voters can register at the clerk’s office when they go to vote (see registration guidelines below).
• Go to the clerk’s office during regular business hours and: (1) request ballot, (2) complete ballot, (3) seal ballot in envelope, (4) Complete elector information section on envelope (5) and return ballot to member of the clerk’s staff.
• A member of the clerk’s staff will serve as witness for your ballot.
• Ballots must be completed in the clerk’s office and cannot be taken from the office.
• Ballots will be counted on Election Day.

Mail-In Early Voting
Mail-in early voting requires three steps to complete a ballot.

1. Request an Absentee Ballot:
• Note – to request an absentee mail-in ballot, a person must be registered to vote. (see registration guidelines below)
• Complete an Application for Absentee Ballot, which can be found here:
• Mail the completed form to your local municipal clerk’s office. The address for your clerk’s office can be found at:
• Deadline: Applications must be received by the clerk’s office by 5:00PM on Thursday, May 31.
• However, because the clerk will then need to mail the absentee ballot to the voter, it is recommended that the request be mailed earlier. You will receive your absentee ballot in the mail, at the address specified on your application.

2. Complete Absentee Ballot:
• Ballot must be completed in the presence of one adult witness who is a U.S. citizen.
• Fold completed ballot and place inside the certificate envelope and seal.
• Complete elector information section on envelope and sign the certificate.
• The witness must also sign the certificate and provide his or her address.

3. Return Absentee Ballot:
• Completed absentee ballots can be mailed or physically returned (in the certificate envelope) to your municipal clerk by Election Day.
•If mailed, ballots must be postmarked not later than Election Day. Ballots postmarked by Election Day and received by 4:00PM on Friday, June 8 will be counted.

Voter Registration
You may register to vote from May 9th –June 1st by visiting your municipal clerk’s office, or complete your registration form ( and bring it to your municipal clerk’s office until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1st. To get your municipal clerk’s location and hours, visit:

You may also register to vote on Election Day at your Polling Location.

To register to vote, you need:
A Wisconsin driver’s license number, OR (if you don’t have a WI license) the last four digits of your social security number.
• A documentary Proof of Residence—it must include both your complete name and your current Wisconsin address.

Examples of acceptable documents include:
A Wisconsin driver’s license, or state-issued ID card
o A bank statement or a paycheck
o A current lease
o A property tax bill from either 2011 or 2012
o Any utility bill from the past 90 days (online cell phone bill print-outs are acceptable)
o Any document issued by a unit of government
o Your student ID card and a fee receipt with your school address from the past 9 months

If you have any questions or would like additional information, the GAB can be reached at (608) 266-8005.