Voting in Wisconsin

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Voting policy in the United States
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Voting in the 2015 primary elections
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Wisconsin permits no-excuse absentee voting and early voting. The state does not have a system for online voter registration. Voters may register by mail and Election Day registration is allowed.

Voters in Wisconsin are required to present photo identification at the polls.[1][2]

For full information about voting in Wisconsin, contact the state election agency.


To register to vote in Wisconsin, you must:[3]

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • You can register early as long as you will be 18 years old by or on Election Day.
  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Have lived in the area for 28 days before the election with no intent of moving.[4]


When and where

You can register by mailing a form to your local municipal clerk or in person at the municipal clerk's office. If registering by mail, your application must be postmarked no later than 20 days before the election. In-person registration must be completed by 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day. Election Day registration is also available as long as voters bring a proof of residency to the polls.[3]

Online registration

See also: Online voter registration in the 50 states

As of April 2015, Wisconsin is one of 30 states that have not implemented full online voter registration.

Voting on Election Day

Voter identification

See also: Voter identification laws by state and Wisconsin Voter ID requirements and history

Voters in Wisconsin are required to present photo identification at the polls.[1][5]

On March 23, 2015, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge against Wisconsin's voter identification law, thereby allowing it to take effect following the April 7, 2015, election. Previousely, on October 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court struck down the state's photo identification requirement for the 2014 general election.[6] On September 12, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit court had ruled to permit Wisconsin to enforce photo identification requirements for the 2014 general election. The court noted that Wisconsin's requirement was “materially identical” to Indiana's statute, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 2008. Wisconsin also took steps to make it easier to obtain photo ID cards to reduce concerns that the new requirement would disproportionately affect blacks and Latinos.[1] The appeals panel noted that while this was not a final action, Wisconsin should prepare voters and poll workers for the photo requirement to be enforced.[1] In April 2014, United States District Court Judge Lynn Adelman found that the law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments.[1][7] The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the rulings from July, which called on officials to waive the cost of securing the documents required to obtain photo identification. The director of the American Civil Liberty Union's Voting Rights Project, Dale Ho, who has been vocal against voter photo ID laws, warned that confusion could be created by reinstating the rule so close to the November 4, 2014, election.[1]

Poll times

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times

In Wisconsin, all polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time.[8]

Primary voting

Wisconsin is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[9][10][11]

Absentee voting

See also: Absentee voting


All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Wisconsin. There are no special eligibility requirements for voting absentee.[12]


To vote absentee, an absentee ballot application must be received by the municipal clerk no later than 5 p.m. on the Thursday before Election Day. If mailed through the U.S. Postal Service, a returned absentee ballot "must be postmarked no later than Election Day and received by the municipal clerk no later than 4 p.m. on the Friday after the election." For other means of delivery, the completed ballot must be "delivered to the municipal clerk no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day."[12]

Military and overseas voting

For full details regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Early voting

See also: Early voting

Wisconsin is one of 34 states that has early voting with no specific requirements as to who can vote early. Early voting runs for two weeks before an election, ending at 5 p.m. or close of business (whichever is later) on the Friday before the election.[12] The average number of days prior to an election that voters can cast an early ballot is 21 days in states with a definitive starting date.

2014 developments

In March 2014, Governor Scott Walker applied a partial veto to a bill altering the state's early voting procedures. The legislation as passed restricted early voting hours in several cities to 45 hours per week. Walker vetoed this provision, but he left in place a provision prohibiting early voting on weekends. Democrats alleged that the restrictions placed an undue burden on minorities, veterans, the elderly and students. Republicans maintained that the changes were necessary to ensure uniformity in procedures between urban and rural locations, arguing that rural election officials often lack the resources needed to maintain the same early voting hours that cities can offer.[13]

Election policy ballot measures

Voting on
elections and campaigns
Ballot measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
See also: Elections and campaigns on the ballot and List of Wisconsin ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked the following ballot measures relating to election and campaign policy in Wisconsin.

  1. Wisconsin Amendment to Overturn Citizens United Ruling Question (2016)
  2. Wisconsin Attorney General Term of Office Amendment, Question 4 (April 1967)
  3. Wisconsin Constitutional Amending Procedure Amendment, Question 3 (April 1964)
  4. Wisconsin County Coroner and Medical Examiner Option Amendment, Question 2 (April 1972)
  5. Wisconsin County Coroner and Surveyor Amendment, Question 2 (April 1965)
  6. Wisconsin Deletion of 1902 Transitional Provision Amendment, Question 5 (1982)
  7. Wisconsin Election Amendment, Question 2 (1882)
  8. Wisconsin Election and Terms of Sheriffs, Question 1 (1998)
  9. Wisconsin Governor and Lieutenant Governor Joint Election Amendment, Question 5 (April 1967)
  10. Wisconsin Governor and Lieutenant Governor Term of Office Amendment, Question 1 (April 1967)
  11. Wisconsin Judicial Terms of Office Amendment, Question 2 (April 1953)
  12. Wisconsin Modernizing Constitutional Text Amendment, Question 2 (April 1986)
  13. Wisconsin Pocket Ballot and Coupon Voting System Referendum, Question 1 (April 1906)
  14. Wisconsin Primary Election Law Referendum, Question 1 (1904)
  15. Wisconsin Prohibition on Felons Holding Office, Amendment 1 (1996)
  16. Wisconsin Recall Primary Elections Amendment, Question 1 (April 1981)
  17. Wisconsin Secretary of State Term of Office Amendment, Question 2 (April 1967)
  18. Wisconsin Sheriff Term Limits Amendment, Question 6 (April 1967)
  19. Wisconsin State Executive Official Terms of Office, Question 3 (April 1951)
  20. Wisconsin State Treasurer Term of Office Amendment, Question 3 (April 1967)
  21. Wisconsin Term Length Wording Amendment, Question 4 (April 1979)
  22. Wisconsin Terms of County Officers Amendment, Question 1 (April 2005)
  23. Wisconsin Voting Rights for Children of U.S. Citizens Living Abroad, Question 1 (2000)

Recent news

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See also

Elections in Wisconsin

External links