Voting in Wisconsin
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When and where
There are three ways to register to vote in Wisconsin:
- By mail: Download the Application for Voter Registration GAB-131 in English, or Spanish or Hmong, complete the form and mail it into the municipal clerk's office. Find your Wisconsin Municipal Clerk here. The application must be postmarked no later than the 20th day (3rd Wednesday) before the election.
- In person: Register in the municipal clerk's office up to 5 p.m. or the close of business whichever is later on the Friday before the election.
- At The Polling Place On Election Day: If you wish to register to vote at your polling place, you must bring proof that you reside at your present location. For purposes of voter registration, acceptable forms of proof of residence must include:
- A current and complete name, including both the given and family name; and
- A current and complete residential address, including a numbered street address, if any, and the name of a municipality.
As of March 2015, Wisconsin is one of 30 states that have not implemented full online voter registration.
Voting on election day
Photo ID is not currently required in Wisconsin.
Note: On March 6 and March 12, 2012, two separate judges issued injunctions preventing the Government Accountability Board from enforcing photo ID requirements in 2011 Act 23. The Wisconsin Department of Justice appealed those injunctions and the appeals have been certified to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which on April 16 sent them back to the respective Courts of Appeals.
- See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times
- See also: Absentee voting
All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Wisconsin. There are no special eligibility requirements for voting absentee.
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."
Military and overseas voting
For full details regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
- 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. 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.
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.
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Registration and Voting," accessed June 10, 2014
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Voter Photo ID Law Information," accessed June 10, 2014
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Voting 101: Back to Basics," accessed January 3, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
- Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
- Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
- Government Accountability Board - State of Wisconsin, "Absentee voting," accessed December 17, 2013
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Scott Walker signs early-voting bill; partial veto extends voting hours," March 27, 2014