A Resource for College Students

Student Voting Guide

Getting Started

If you’re a college student in Wisconsin, you can vote at your school address.

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?

 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.

Use this guide for all of the information you need for voting in Wisconsin, whether you’re registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot or planning to vote in person. You can always start by using our Student Voting Quiz to find answers to your questions or call our Voter Assistance Hotline at (608) 336-3232.

Note: The ID requirements to register are different from the requirements to actually vote.

 

Registering to Vote

The first step to voting in Wisconsin is registering to vote. 

To vote in Wisconsin you must

  • Be 18 years old or older by Election Day – November 3, 2020
  • Have moved to your current address in Wisconsin at least 28 days before Election Day
  • Be a U.S. Citizen

Student Residency:

  • Students must reside at their current address for 28 days. 
  • The 28 days starts when the students move in, not when classes start 
  • The 28 days do not need to be spent entirely in Wisconsin. If you have any questions about whether you meet the residency requirement, call the Voter Assistance Hotline at 608-336-3232.

There are a few different ways to register to vote as a student in Wisconsin:

  1. You can register to vote online if you have a valid, unexpired Wisconsin DMV-issued driver’s license or ID with current address. You will just need to provide the number of your ID after answering a few questions. The deadline to register online is October 14, 2020.
  2. You can register to vote by mail or in person with an acceptable proof of residence document that has your name and your Wisconsin address. Examples of an acceptable proof of residence document include official correspondence from a public high school or university, a pay stub or bank statement, a utility statement (e.g. a cell phone bill), just to name a few. You can see a longer list here. The deadline to register by mail is a postmark on or before October 14, 2020.
  3. You can also register to vote by mail or in person with an acceptable form of student photo ID accompanied by a college fee statement from within the last nine months. Alternatively, students living in dorms may appear on a Certified Housing List provided by your school to the local municipal clerk. Students on the Certified Housing List will be allowed to register upon also showing student photo ID.

Still not sure how to register? Call our Voter Assistance Hotline at (608) 336-3232 or use our Student Voting Quiz to get answers tailored to your situation.

Photo ID Requirements to Vote

Whether voting in person or by absentee ballot, you need a valid form of photo ID.

Valid photo IDs for students include:

  • A Wisconsin Driver License even if it does not show your current address, is expired or driving privileges are revoked/suspended
  • Student ID AND a proof of enrollment document if you go to the following schools
  • Your US Passport
  • Your identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin (even if expired)
  • Military ID card issued by a U.S. uniformed service

Out of state driver’s licenses are NOT valid Photo ID. Whether student IDs are valid Photo ID changes school by school. Call the hotline to ask about your school or use our Student Voting Quiz. HOWEVER, anyone in-state can get a free DMV Voter Photo ID

 

Depending on where you go to school, you may be able to vote with your student photo ID

  • Some, but not all, colleges and universities issue all of their students a student ID that can serve as a photo ID for voting. To vote, the student ID must include:
    1. Your name
    2. Your photo
    3. Your signature
    4. The date the card was issued
    5. 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 a document that proves your current
      enrollment (Ex. enrollment verification letter, class schedule, or tuition fee receipt)
  • These Colleges/Universities have Student IDs that can be used as a Photo ID when requesting an absentee ballot or when voting in person.
  • If your school’s student ID does not meet the voting requirements, some schools provide students with a Student Voter Photo ID. If you attend one of these Colleges/Universities then you can follow the steps contained in the link to obtain a Student Voter Photo ID

 

Still not sure if you have the right ID to vote in Wisconsin? Call our Voter Assistance Hotline at (608) 336-3232 or use our Student Voting Quiz to get answers tailored to your situation.

 

Requesting an Absentee Ballot

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.

 

In Person Early Voting

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.

Voting 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

Curbside Voting

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1.  Can I register to vote in person on Election Day or during early voting?

    • On Election Day, you can register AND vote at your polling location, as long as you bring proof of residence for registering (see voter registration section above) and a Photo ID for voting. You can also register in person and vote early during early vote at any of the early vote locations in your municipality from October 20th to October 30th. 
  2. Should I re-register on campus if I am already registered at home?

    • In-state students: This is entirely your choice. If you are registered at your home address in Wisconsin, you can get your absentee ballot mailed to you at school without re-registering.  You are not required to re-register on campus, but you can re-register on campus if you so choose as long as you will be a resident at that address for at least 28 days before November 3, using any of the registration methods described above. 
    • Out-of-state students: This is entirely your choice. If you want to vote in Wisconsin, it is fully your right to do so. Wisconsin state government and the local government in your municipality will make decisions that affect your life on campus and your education. Additionally, check the rules in your state for absentee voting. If you cannot get an absentee ballot sent to you at school from your home state, you may wish to re-register and vote in Wisconsin. 
  3. For folks that need to send forms, what can be done over email instead of mail?

    • Registration can only be done online if you have a current Wisconsin DMV ID. If you do NOT have a current Wisconsin DMV ID, you must register by snail mail or in person. 
    • Absentee ballot requests can be done fully online or by email. 
  4. What counts as proof of residence for students who live off-campus?

    • Student ID plus fee receipt dated in the last nine months. 
    • Credit union account statement
    • For UW: MyUW / Student Center webpages showing your full name and current address
    • Any other correspondence from a public university or government entity, including federal student loan correspondence
    • Utility bill (including a cell phone bill, gas, electricity).
    • A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources card – e.g., from a boater safety course, or an ATV or snowmobile safety course. 
    • More examples can be found here.
  5. The state website says, as proof of residence, I can show a “Residential lease that is effective on date of registration. (Not valid if registering by mail.)”. Does this mean I have to register in person if I’m a renter?

    • Not necessarily.  If you are using your lease as proof of residence, then you will have to register in person.
    • But, there are lots of other documents you could use as proof of residence to register online or by mail.