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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:
- Have been convicted of a felony and are currently “on paper.” You can vote again once 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? State and local Wisconsin officials will be making the rules that affect your education and day-to-day lives at school! 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 do not lose your right to vote.
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.
How to register online
- If you have an unexpired Wisconsin DMV-issued license or ID card that shows your current address, you can register online at myvote.wi.gov.
- Just click on “Register To Vote” and follow the steps on the website.
- If you need help, give us a call on the Voter Assistance Hotline at 608-336-3232.
How to register by mail
- If you don’t have a Wisconsin DMV-issued license, or ID, no worries! You can register by mail.
- If you have a printer at home, print and fill out this form. If you don’t have a printer, call your municipal clerk and ask them to send you one—they will send it to you with a postage-paid return envelope!
- Once you’ve filled out the application, make sure to include a copy of your proof of residence. There are lots of things that qualify as proof of residence that you probably have hanging around, like a gas, electric, or cell phone bill; a bank or credit card statement; a paycheck or paystub; a check or document issued by a unit of local, state, or federal government (like a stimulus check, Social Security check, Medicare or BadgerCare correspondence, vehicle registration); and more. Check out the next section if you have questions!
How to register in-person at your Clerk’s Office, during Early Vote, or on primary or election day:
There are three ways to register in person!
- You can go to your municipal clerk’s office to register in person during their normal business hours (except during the three days right before an election).
- Once early voting starts, you can also register at any early voting location in your municipality and then vote in person right away!
- And, Wisconsin has same-day registration, so if you want to vote in person on election day, you can register at your assigned polling location and then cast your ballot!
To register to vote, you must provide proof of Wisconsin residence that includes full name and current Wisconsin address.
- A current and valid State of Wisconsin Driver License or State ID card
- Residential lease (if registering in person)
- Any correspondence mailed from a government agency (eg, SSI, DMV, traffic ticket mailed to you, tax return, fed stimulus check, letter from public library, public school)
- Utility bill, cell phone bill, bank statement, credit card
- Paycheck, pay stub, or unemployment check
- Student ID AND either a fee receipt dated within the last nine months OR Certified Student Housing List
A longer list of acceptable documents can be viewed here.
Proof of residence can be shown electronically if registering in person.
Proof of Residence is ONLY required to register, not to vote.
Who is eligible to vote by mail & what do I need
- Every voter in Wisconsin is eligible to vote by mail—no excuse needed!
- You can request your ballot online at myvote.wi.gov if you have access to a computer or smartphone.
- You can also request it by mail or email.
- If you have never voted absentee before, you will need to be able to take a picture of your photo ID and upload it to MyVote or make a copy of it to send by mail.
- Important note: if you have previously requested an absentee ballot (like the over 2 million Wisconsinites who successfully requested their ballots for the 2020 General Election!) you do not need to submit your ID again unless you’ve moved!
How to request an absentee ballot online
- Go to myvote.wi.gov and click “Vote Absentee”
- Put in your first name, last name, and birthday
- Verify that your name and address are correct and click “Request Absentee Ballot”
- If this is your first time requesting an absentee ballot, or you’ve moved or changed your name since you submitted your photo ID, you’ll have to add a picture of your photo ID. Click the green “Upload Photo ID” button, choose “take photo,” snap a picture of your photo ID, and click “use photo.”
- Note: make sure you take a photo of the photo ID you would use to vote in person—a selfie’s not gonna cut it here!
- Once your photo is there, click “continue”, and choose which elections you want to receive a ballot for this year.
- Finally, you’ll review your request, certify that your information is correct, and click “Request Ballot.”
- You’re all set! And if you have any trouble, give us a call on the Voter Assistance Hotline at 608-336-3232.
How to request an absentee ballot by mail
- If you have a printer at home, print and fill out this form. If you don’t have a printer, call your municipal clerk and ask them to send you an application.
You’ll also need to make a copy of your photo ID if this is your first time voting by mail or if you’ve moved or changed your name since you last submitted your ID. If you don’t have a way to do that at home, we recommend calling your local library or municipal clerk to see if they can help. You can also call our Voter Assistance Hotline at 608-336-3232 to help you figure out a solution!
A NOTE ON DROPBOXES (September 2022): The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that absentee ballot dropboxes are illegal under Wisconsin law, and voters who are not disabled who return their ballots in person to the clerk’s office or an early vote site must do it themselves. Please see below for details on returning your absentee ballot.
TO COMPLETE AN ABSENTEE BALLOT:
- Find a witness who is a US Citizen and over the age of 18—it can be a family member, friend, neighbor, or total stranger.
- Show your blank ballot to your witness. They should watch you complete your ballot, but from a distance so they don’t see who you’re actually voting for.
- When you’re done, fold your ballot & seal it in the certificate envelope.
- Complete the certification on the envelope and make sure that any pre-filled fields are correct.
- Then, give the envelope to your witness and make sure they completely fill out the “Certification of Witness” section. They have to sign and write their complete address, including street address, municipality, state, and zip code.
Reminder: Double check your envelope before you put it in the mail or drop it off! If your envelope does not have your signature, your witness’s signature, and your witness’s complete address, it won’t be counted!
TO RETURN AN ABSENTEE BALLOT:
- Return your absentee ballot as soon as possible! Ballots must be received by 8pm on election day in order to be counted.
- If you are going to mail it back, do it as soon as possible after you receive it! USPS advises to put it in the mail at least one week before election day to allow sufficient time for it to be delivered.
- Return your ballot in person to an early vote site or, in most municipalities, to your election day polling place.
- Absentee ballot dropboxes are illegal under Wisconsin law.
- The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that ballot dropboxes are illegal under Wisconsin state statute. Instead, ballots must be returned in person to the clerk’s office or an approved alternate early vote site, or sent through the U.S. mail.
- Voters who are not disabled who return their ballots in person to the clerk’s office or an early vote site must do it themselves.
- If voters are returning their ballot in person directly to the clerk’s office or a polling place, they must do so themselves.
- The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to rule on whether voters are permitted to ask a third party to put their ballot in a mailbox, but for non-disabled voters, the best thing to do is to personally mail their own ballot.
- Voters who are disabled and require assistance with mailing or delivering their absentee ballot due to their disability have the right to assistance under the Voting Rights Act.
- A federal court ruled on August 31, 2022 that voters who require assistance mailing or returning their absentee ballot in person have the right to that assistance.
- Disabled voters may choose anyone to be their assistant other than the voter’s employer or agent of that employer or an officer or agent of the voter’s union.
- An assistant can place the disabled voter’s ballot in the mail for them, or bring it directly to the clerk’s office or a polling place on their behalf.
- The Wisconsin Elections Commission has advised that municipal clerks do not need to confirm a voter’s disability.
- WEC has further advised that clerks do not need to verify or record an assistant’s identity.
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: Polling places often change from election to election–always check where yours is before you go vote to make sure you head to the right place!
Special In Person Voting Options
If you are elderly, mobility impaired, immunocompromised, or otherwise unable to enter a polling place, you have the right to vote curbside on Election Day instead of voting inside.
To vote curbside:
- Be sure to have your valid photo ID ready.
- Contact the poll workers from outside at your car. There should be a sign with a number to call or a doorbell to ring.
- If there is no signage or the bell does not work, please report this to our Voter Assistance Hotline at 608-336-3232. Our team will work with you to resolve the issue.
- Two poll workers will come to your vehicle and assist you in voting without having to go inside.
Wisconsin Voters have to show an acceptable form of ID when voting in person or to request an absentee ballot. (There are of course a few exceptions.) Chances are, you probably have at least one of these acceptable forms of ID already! Your photo ID does not need to show your current address.
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 8, 2022):
- A Wisconsin DMV-issued driver’s 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 less than 2 years before the date of the election in which you are voting
- Driving receipt or ID card receipt issued by the WI DMV (valid for 45 days)
- Wisconsin DMV ID petition process photo receipt (valid for 60 days)
These kinds of ID can be expired at any time (even before November 8, 2022):
- Tribal ID card from a federally recognized tribe in Wisconsin
- Student ID card from a Wisconsin-accredited university or college, if it is accompanied by proof of current enrollment
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 name
- Your photo
- Your signature
- The date the card was issued
- An expiration date that shows that the card expires no later than two years after the card was issued.
- If your card is expired, you must also provide proof of enrollment (e.g., an enrollment verification letter, tuition fee receipt, or class schedule)
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!
So you’ve got questions. We’ve got answers!
Below are some of the questions we get most frequently. And if you don’t see the answer you need below, remember you can always call the Voter Assistance Hotline at 608-336-3232!
Can I register on Election Day?
- You sure can! Just remember to bring your Proof of Residence and Photo ID.
Where’s my polling place?
- You can find your Election Day polling place, along with the date of the next election in your area, over at the state’s website, myvote.wi.gov.
Where can I find an Early Vote site in my municipality?
- We have a team of volunteers who collect this information in the lead-up to elections each cycle, and we publish it to vote.wisdems.org, so check back there as we get closer to the next election!
Do I have to show Proof of Residence every time I vote?
- Nope! You only need to show proof of residence when you are registering for the first time, or if you have moved and need to re-register at a new address. But you do have to show Photo ID every time you vote.
Can I vote in person if I requested an absentee ballot?
- Yes, unless you’ve already returned your ballot. However, if you already put your completed absentee ballot back in the mail or returned it to your clerk’s office, then you cannot vote in person because that would be voting twice.
I’m temporarily staying somewhere other than the address where I’m registered to vote and having my mail forwarded. Will my absentee ballot get forwarded with the rest of my mail?
- Nope! You have to specifically request that your ballot be sent to the address where you want it delivered—as a security measure, it doesn’t get forwarded with your other mail.
My driver’s license has my old address—can I still use it as my photo ID for voting?
- Yes! If you’re already registered at your current address, you can use your driver’s license with your old address as photo ID. However, if you’re not registered at your current address, you’ll need to re-register there and bring proof of residence with your current address (meaning, your license with your old address won’t work).
I want to vote using an absentee ballot in 2023. When can I request my absentee ballot?
- You can go to myvote.wi.gov and request absentee ballots for every election this year right now!
I’m a student in Wisconsin and I want to vote here instead of at my parent’s house out-of-state. Can I do that?
- Yes! If you’ve lived in Wisconsin longer than 28 days before an election, you’re eligible to register and vote here—and it’s great that you want to have a say in the laws that affect your education in Wisconsin. Remember, of course, you can’t vote in both places. Check out our Voting Guide to find out what you can use as proof of residence and photo ID, and if you still have questions, give us a call on the hotline at 608-336-3232.
Can I ask my spouse/roommate/friend/child to bring my completed ballot to my municipal clerk’s office?
- No, unless you require assistance due to a disability. If you are not disabled, the state supreme court ruled that having anyone else return your ballot is illegal. Ballots returned in person to the municipal clerk’s office or an early vote site can only be returned by the voter themselves.
What does this mean about when I should request and return my absentee ballot?
- If you are not able to personally return your ballot to your clerk’s office or an early vote site and will need assistance, make sure to request your ballot as soon as possible to allow enough time to receive and return it through the U.S. mail.
Can I still put my ballot in the dropbox that my city put at the fire station in my neighborhood?
- No. The court ruled that ballot dropboxes are not permitted under state law. Ballots can only be returned by mail or in person to the clerk’s office or an early vote site.
My clerk used the mail slot attached to city hall for voters to return absentee ballots. Can I still put my ballot there?
- The court’s opinion did not directly answer this question, but likely no. You should call your clerk and ask whether this will still be available as an option.
Is it still safe to vote absentee?
- Yes, absolutely! You just need to make sure to request your ballot with sufficient time to return it, and that you are able either to return it yourself to your clerk’s office or an early vote site, or put it in the mail with enough time so that your clerk receives it no later than 8pm on election day.
What if I have declared myself indefinitely confined so I get an absentee ballot mailed to me in every election?
- The rules for returning an absentee ballot are the same whether you are indefinitely confined or not. If you are disabled and require assistance returning your ballot due to your disability, you are legally entitled to that assistance. If you are not disabled, you must return your own ballot.
If I’m disabled and need assistance, will I have to submit medical documentation to get help?
- No. Your clerk should not ask you for any documentation or require you to prove or attest to the fact that you are disabled.
- If your clerk tries to make you submit any documentation, call the WisDems Voter Assistance Hotline at 608-336-3232 and we will work to resolve the issue with you.
If I’m disabled and need assistance, will my assistant need to prove their identity or sign something if they return my ballot to the clerk’s office?
- No. Your clerk should not require your assistant to sign anything, write down their name or address, or show ID.
- At most, your clerk may ask your assistant (1) whether they are returning the ballot on behalf of a voter who asked for their help due to a disability, and (2) whether they are the voter’s employer or agent of that employer or an officer or agent of the voter’s union. If your assistant answers yes to the first and no to the second, your ballot will be accepted.
What qualifies as ‘disabled’?
- The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,” including “an impairment that is episodic or in remission” — in other words, any condition, including a non-permanent one, that limits your major life activities (for instance caring for yourself, walking, standing, seeing, hearing, etc.).
- It is up to you as an individual voter to determine whether your situation meets this criteria. Remember, clerks should not ask you or your assistant for proof of disability as a requirement to accepting your ballot.
If there are multiple people in my household who are disabled and need assistance returning our ballots, can we all use the same person to help us?
- Yes. One person may serve as the assistant for multiple voters, provided the assistant is not the voter’s employer or an agent of their employer or an officer or agent of the voter’s union.