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 10 days before the election in which you intend to vote.
What does it mean to Reside in Wisconsin?
It means that you have lived in Wisconsin for at least 10 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.
A couple points of clarification:
- You cannot vote in Wisconsin if you move here, you know that you are only here temporarily for a limited period, and you intend to leave Wisconsin at the end of that period. So, say you get sent here for a 3-month work assignment, you keep your home in another state, and you know you’re going back there at the end of the 3 months. You should vote at your permanent residence, not here in Wisconsin.
- You can vote in Wisconsin if this is your home now, even if you have plans to move at a fixed future point.
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 treason or bribery, or if you have 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 three ways to register to vote:
Option 1: Register online
Submit your registration on the Wisconsin Election Commission website.
- Have your Wisconsin DMV-issued driver’s license or ID with current address ready
- 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 July 22, 2020 for the August 11 partisan primary, and must be postmarked by October 13, 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!
Option 3: Register In Person
- Register in-person at your municipal clerk’s office before Election Day. Find your municipal clerk’s information here.
- Wisconsin has same-day voter registration! That means, with proof of residency, you can register at the polls on Election Day. Click here for a list of approved documents for Proof of Residence.
In Wisconsin, everyone is eligible to vote absentee – no reasons needed! Simply request your absentee ballot by 5pm the Thursday before Election Day.
Option 1: Request a ballot online
- 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.
- Note: Be sure to confirm your registration and mailing address. Ballots are not automatically forwarded by USPS, even if your other mail is.
- You can request absentee ballots for all elections in this calendar year.
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.
Option 3: In person Absentee Voting
- In-person absentee voting is also known as Early Voting.
- Locations and times vary by municipality. Contact your Municipal Clerk to confirm hours of operation.
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.
- Drop your ballot in the mail or return it to your municipal clerk. Your ballot must be received by 8pm on election day.
On Election Day, polls are open 7am – 8pm.
- Find your polling place at myvote.wi.gov.
- If you are in line when polls close, stay in line.
- 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.
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!