Voting is a right none of us can afford to lose.
If you think there is even a slight chance you won't make it to the polls on November 8th, then vote with an early absentee ballot.
But don't I need an excuse?
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.
In the city of Madison early in-person voting:
- Begins on Monday, September 26th and will run for six weeks;
- Will take place at multiple sites (including all nine of Madison's public libraries, at Edgewood College and at UW-Madison Union South);
- Will be available during weekend and evening hours at some locations. Here is Madison's official schedule and list of locations for in-person early voting.
- Begins Monday, September 26th at City Hall (Zeidler building at 744 N. Market St);
- Beginning October 10 will also be available at Forest Home Library, 1432 W. Forest Home Ave., and Midtown Center, 5700 W. Capitol Parkway. Milwaukee's complete early in-person voting schedule can be found here.
~ 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 left.
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.
(Click image to enlarge)
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 absentee ballot request must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday before the election – November 3rd – in order for an absentee ballot to be sent to you.
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).
~ 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:
By Mail. The last day to register by mail in order to vote in the November 8th election is October 19th. 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 document.
By Special Registration Deputy (SRD). SRDs are appointed by a municipal clerk to register eligible voters at venues within their municipality. You will often see SRDs during election season on campus, at libraries, farmers' markets, outside of banks and supermarkets. You'll need to show an SRD a proof of residence document in order to complete your registration with them (this document can be shown electronically). The last day to register with an SRD to vote in the November election is October 19th.
In your Municipal Clerk’s Office. You can register in-person in your municipal clerk’s office up until the Friday before the election (November 4th) at 5:00 p.m. or close of business, whichever is later. 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 November 8th. 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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Updated September 12, 2016