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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Continuing Updates on the 2020 Election

Last Updated: 8/12/20

Wisconsin COVID-19 Election Information:

Vote.org Wisconsin Election Center: information and deadlines for absentee voting, early voting, and election day

Wisconsin's State Elections Website

Request an absentee ballot from Wisconsin »

Voter Registration in Wisconsin

Eligibility

  • Age: you must be 18 by the date of the next election.
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals: You are not eligible to vote if you are serving any portion of a felony sentence. If you are on supervision, probation, or parole for a felony conviction you are not eligible to vote. Once you have completed all terms of your felony sentence, you may register to vote.
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Residence: To be eligible to register to vote at an address, you must have lived there for the 10 days before the election with no present intent to move.
  • College students have the right to vote in Wisconsin if they have resided in a ward for at least 10 days, are U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old on or before Election Day, and are not otherwise disqualified.
  • Check to see if you are already registered.

For more information, please see the Voter Eligibility Guide.

 

Deadline

  • Voter registration deadlines are 20 days before the date of the election.
  • March 19, 2020 is the registration deadline for the April 7, 2020 primary election
  • October 15, 2020 is the deadline for online and mail-in registration for the general election.
  • In person registration can be done up to the Friday before an election at the Municipal Clerk’s office
  • Guidelines
  • Election Calendar
  • Wisconsin allows in person registration on the day of an Election, you must bring proof of residence

Online registration

To register online, the voter must enter a name, date of birth, Driver License or ID number, and an address that matches what is on file with the Wisconsin DMV. If all of the fields match, the voter will be able to register to vote completely online without needing to print, sign or mail the form and without needing to send a proof of residence document. Voters who are not able to match their information with the information in the DMV database will be given the option to register by mail.

Online registration site: 

Mail-in registration

You can start your voter registration form online at http://myvote.wi.gov. Your form must be printed, signed and mailed, or delivered to your municipal clerk.You must always provide a Proof of Residence document when registering. If you are registering by mail, you can use any of the forms of Proof of Residence except a residential lease.

 

Choosing a political party:   

Wisconsin does not register voters by political party.

Updating registration      

To update registration after a move, name change, or change of political party affiliation, use the online tool provided by MyVoteWisconsin.

Cancelling registration

Wisconsin voters do not need to cancel voter registration when moving, but may cancel by sending a form to their Municipal Clerk.

Directory of County and Municipal Clerks

ID Requirements for Wisconsin Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

Online Registration

To register to vote online, only voters with a valid, unexpired Wisconsin Driver License or Wisconsin State ID Card may use this site to register to vote.

Mail-in Registration

An ID is not required for mail-in registration, but you must provide a proof of residence document:

  • A current and valid State of Wisconsin Driver License or State ID card.
  • Any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit.
  • Any identification card issued by an employer in the normal course of business and bearing a photo of the card holder, but not including a business card.
  • A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
  • A university, college or technical college identification card (must include photo) ONLY if the voter provides a fee receipt dated within the last 9 months or the institution provides a certified housing list to the municipal clerk.
  • A gas, electric or telephone service statement (utility bill) for the period commencing no earlier than 90 days before Election Day.
  • A bank or credit card statement.
  • A paycheck or paystub.
  • A check or other document issued by a unit of government.
  • A letter on public or private social service agency letterhead identifying a homeless voter and describing the individual’s residence for voting purposes.
  • A residential lease that is effective on date of registration. (Not valid if registering by mail.)
  • An intake document from a residential care facility such as a nursing home or assisted living facility. 

Proof of Residence for Voter Registration (PDF)

ID Requirements for Voting

All Voters

    All Wisconsin Voters MUST present picture ID with a few specific exceptions

  • Confidential electors are always exempt from Photo ID requirements. Confidential electors have applied for this status with their municipal clerk, and have presented a court order, a letter from law enforcement, a letter from the staff of a domestic abuse shelter, or the staff of an agency assisting victims of domestic abuse
  • Active Military and Permanent Overseas voters are not required to provide a Photo ID when they vote by absentee ballot, but if they vote in-person, they must present Photo ID
  • Indefinitely confined voters, if a voter has a hard time getting to the polls on Election Day due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability they can request a ballot be sent to them.  Indefinitely confined voters do not need to show a Photo ID when voting by absentee ballot. If they vote in person, they must present a Photo ID. 
  • Voters in special care facilities can provide a witness signature on their absentee ballot certificate envelope in substitute for showing Photo ID; if they vote in-person, they must present a Photo ID

Source: BRING IT TO THE BALLOT

Where to get an ID

Division of Motor Vehicles

Obtaining a Driver’s License

Casting a Ballot in Wisconsin

Important Dates

  • Primary Election: April 7, 2020
  • General Election: November 3, 2020
  • Early voting: Wisconsin voters may vote early starting 15 days before the election up to 4 days before the election (October 20-October 31)

Absentee voting

Opening/closing dates

  • Absentee ballots will be mailed out in advance of the election
  • Your completed absentee ballot must be delivered no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.  The U.S. Postal Service recommends absentee ballots be mailed one week before Election Day to arrive in time.

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

  • Military electors can choose to receive their absentee ballot by mail, email, or fax. You may not return your voted ballot electronically.
  • Starting on September 20, 2012, military electors can access their absentee ballots online at My Vote WI: myvote.wi.gov
  • The absentee ballot must be received no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.  The U.S. Postal Service recommends absentee ballots be mailed one week before Election Day to arrive on time.

For more information regarding Military Voters, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

Any qualified elector (U.S. citizen, 18 years of age, who has resided in the district in which he or she intends to vote for at least 10 days) who registers to vote is eligible to request an absentee ballot.  Under Wisconsin law, voters do not need a reason or excuse, such as being out of town on Election Day, to vote absentee. Any voter who prefers to vote by absentee ballot may request one. You have several options for requesting an absentee ballot and casting your vote. 

Application for Absentee Ballot: 

Polling places and hours

  • Use the Polling Place Locator to find your polling place.
  • For a general election or primary, polls in Wisconsin are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Check with the County or Municipal Clerk regarding voting hours for referenda.
  • Time off to vote: Any person entitled to vote at an election is entitled to be absent from work while the polls are open for a period not to exceed 3 successive hours to vote. The elector shall notify the affected employer before election day of the intended absence.

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:

  • Lyft provides free or discounted rides in some underserved communities
  • Political parties sometimes arrange rides for voters. Contact the local office:

Help for voters with disabilities

  • Disability Rights Wisconsin operates the Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA) program.
  • If you have difficulty getting to the polling place and would like to receive an absentee ballot for each election, you can become a permanent absentee voter.  You need to certify on the application that you are “indefinitely confined,” meaning that for reason of age, illness, infirmity or disability you are requesting a ballot for all subsequent elections.   Once you are on the permanent absentee list you will stay there until you are no longer confined or you fail to return a ballot.

Ballots

Sample ballots

Elections

Primaries vs. general elections

  • Primary elections are conducted to select each party’s candidates in the general election.
  • Wisconsin conducts open primaries, any registered voter may vote in the Wisconsin primaries.
  • In a general election, voters are not required to have a party affiliation.

 

Jurisdiction

Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot

Federal (even years)

President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2020)

Senator (elected every six years for staggered terms; next election in 2022)

U.S. House of Representatives (elected every two years)

State (even years)

Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General (elected every four years; next election in 2022)

Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction (every four years; next election in 2021)

State Senator (elected every two years)

State Assembly(elected every two years)

Statewide ballot measures

State Supreme Court

Intermediate Appellate Courts

Municipal (varies)

School Board and other boards and commissions

Municipal Governments

Sheriffs 

Local ballot measures

Who are the candidates, and what else is on the ballot?

Important Dates

Election Day is November 3, 2020

Dates of Wisconsin elections can be found on the State Elections website.

Who conducts elections?

  • The Wisconsin Election Commission oversees statewide and local elections
  • Municipal and County maintains voter rolls, prepare ballots and administer balloting for each municipality.

Voter Bill of Rights

Wisconsin does not currently have a voter bill of rights

 

Where to go with complaints about candidates or how elections are conducted

“You have the right to file a formal complaint with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board requesting the enforcement of the election and campaign finance laws. This process is governed by Wisconsin Administrative Code,”  Chapter GAB-20.

 

 

Campaign finance

Wisconsin Campaign Finance Information System provides access to candidates’ election committee and Political Action Committee campaign finance filings.

How to contact your elected officials:

Find your elected officials

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections


Hotlines


1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)


Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits

Disclaimer

Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.