Early Absentee Voting Guide
The right to vote is both a privilege and a responsibility.
If you think there is even a slight chance you won’t make it to the polls during a primary or on Election Day, then vote with an early absentee ballot.
But don’t I need an excuse to vote absentee?
No, you do not need a reason or excuse, like being out of town on Election Day, to vote by absentee ballot. Any Wisconsin voter who wishes to cast an absentee ballot may do so either in-person during the early voting period or by mail.
Early In-Person Absentee Voting
When and where can I vote in person with an absentee ballot?
That depends on where you live, since each city, village and town in Wisconsin is responsible for setting the dates, hours and locations for in-person absentee voting within their municipality. To get the latest information on dates, hours and locations for in-person absentee voting where you live in Wisconsin, contact your municipal clerk.
What do I need to bring with me when voting early with an in-person absentee ballot?
You will need to bring one of the acceptable forms of photo ID for voting pictured here.
For more information about voter photo ID – and how to get a free ID if you don’t have an ID acceptable for voting – see our downloadable voter ID fact sheet. Or visit: Bring It to the Ballot.
Is there anything else I need to do before I can vote early?
Make sure NOW that you are registered to vote at your current address – go to MyVote.WI.gov, select “Register to vote,” and enter your name and date of birth.
If you’re not already registered to vote at your current residence, see the information below on voter registration options and deadlines.
Absentee Voting By Mail
Before an absentee ballot can be sent to you, you must already be registered to vote. Find out if you’re registered at MyVote.WI.gov, select “Register to vote,” and enter your name and date of birth. If you are not registered at your current address, see the information on voter registration options and deadlines below.
How do I request an absentee ballot?
By Mail. If you are a registered Wisconsin voter, you can download the Application For Absentee Ballot, fill out the form and mail it to your municipal clerk’s office. With very few exceptions (e.g., you are indefinitely confined, live permanently overseas), you must also include a copy of your acceptable photo ID with your absentee ballot request (see voter ID information above).
By Email or Fax. You can also request an absentee ballot by sending an email or fax to your municipal clerk that includes:
- Your full name;
- Voting address;
- Mailing address;
- The election in which are voting;
- A copy of your photo ID (if you have not provided it with a previous absentee ballot request).
Your absentee ballot request must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday before the election in order for an absentee ballot to be sent to you.
Can I receive my absentee ballot by email or fax?
Yes, you can! As a result of a July 2016 federal court decision, the prohibition on sending regular voters their absentee ballot by email or fax has been lifted.
Note: if you have your absentee ballot sent to you by email, you will need to have access to a printer, as you will have to mail back your completed absentee ballot in hard copy form.
Contact your municipal clerk for more information and/or to request your absentee ballot be emailed or faxed to you.
When do I need to return my completed absentee ballot?
Your completed absentee ballot must be delivered to your municipal clerk’s office 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.
Your absentee ballot will NOT be counted if the ballot envelope is missing a witness signature and/or a witness address with their street number, street name, and their municipality.
As a result of a court ruling in July 2016, you now only need to have lived at your current address for at least 10 days by Election Day in order to register to vote in that election district or ward. If you’re not already registered, there are several ways you can register to vote:
Online. Eligible voters in Wisconsin who have a valid Wisconsin driver license or a Wisconsin DMV-issued ID can now register online at MyVote.WI.gov up to 20 days before the election in which they are planning to vote.
By Mail. You can start your voter registration form online at MyVote.WI.gov – then print, sign and mail it to your municipal clerk along with a proof of residence (POR) document. Your form and POR must be received no later than 20 days before the election in which you are planning to vote.
In your Municipal Clerk’s Office. You can register in-person in your municipal clerk’s office up until the 5pm (or close of business) on the Friday before the election in which you are planning to vote. You’ll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically).
At the Polls on Election Day. If you’re unable to register by any of the methods above, and decide to forgo early voting, you can still register at the polls on Election Day. You will need to present a proof of residence document when registering (again, this document can be shown electronically). If your driver’s license or state ID card has your current address, that’s all you need.
Examples of proof of residence documents are here.
Save time and hassle. Register to vote now.
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