Make a Plan to Vote!
The election for President of the United States, and other important state offices, is on November 3rd. Now is the perfect time to make a plan to vote! Here's a breakdown of the information about voter identification, registration, absentee ballots, and in person options. There have been several recent lawsuits and court orders affecting the process of voting in Wisconsin. Any legal changes are unsettled at this point. The following instructions are based on current law. Following these dates and processes will ensure that you do not miss your chance to have your vote counted.
Step by Step Instructions for Voting
For any questions that you may have about the voter registration and voting process, the best source of information is your municipal clerk. Do not hesitate to reach out to them if you are unsure about any steps of the process. They are the elections experts and are there to help you get your vote counted! Here is the contact info for all of the municipal clerks in the 3rd Senate District:
City of Greenfield 414-329-5219
City of Milwaukee 414-286-3491
City of West Allis 414-302-8220
Village of West Milwaukee 414-645-1530 ext 0
Step 1: Make sure you have an acceptable form of ID
In Wisconsin, you need one of several types of identification in order to vote in person or to request your absentee ballot. Bringit.wi.gov is the state's website for helping people make sure that they have an ID that will work when they go to cast their ballot. For most Wisconsinites, their driver's license or state-issued ID card will satisfy this requirement. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has step-by-step instructions for obtaining an ID to vote. Bring your ID with you for every step of the following process!
A federal judge in Wisconsin issued an order modifying certain requirements for the voter identification petition process (IDPP). The order stipulates that: "For eligible voters who submit an IDPP application between October 19 and November 2, 2020, defendants [the DMV] must send the temporary receipt by overnight mail. For already-issued temporary receipts that expire between October 19 and November 2, 2020, defendants may use First Class or Priority Mail to send replacement receipts if they are placed in the mail by October 9. Otherwise, replacement receipts for those expiring between October 19 and November 2, 2020, must be sent by overnight mail." This will help ensure that Wisconsinites who are applying for an ID for the first time, or whose renewal requires any deeper review than normal can get timely access to documentation that they can use to vote. These receipts satisfy the voter ID requirement until their ID card is issued.
Step 2: Get Registered to Vote
You can check your registration through MyVote.wi.gov.
If you are not currently registered, the easiest way to accomplish this is by visiting: https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/RegisterToVote, but this can only be done easily if you have a WI driver's license or a WI ID card (See step 1).
Otherwise, eligible Wisconsin voters who do not have a current, valid Wisconsin Driver License or Wisconsin State ID Card may complete the voter registration form on paper or electronically and mail, email, or deliver their form to their Municipal clerk along with a proof of residence document. You can also submit your application for an absentee ballot at the same time (see the next section). If you are having trouble completing this process electronically, consider reaching out to friends and family for help. That way you can talk to them about what their voting plans are too!
The deadline for registration through the mail or online is October 14th. You can register in person at your municipal clerk until October 30th at 5:00PM. If you miss these registration deadlines, you can always register at your normal polling place on election day, but do not forget your proof of residence document and ID!
Wisconsin's residency requirement has changed from 10 days to 28 days. Meaning that your proof of residence document must provide evidence that you will have resided at that address for 28 or more consecutive days before the date of the election. If you plan on moving within 28 days before the election, you will be able to register and vote from your previous Wisconsin address.
If you know someone moving to Wisconsin from out of state with less than 28 days to establish residency, they will be allowed to vote on a Presidential-only ballot. For more info, contact your municipal clerk or the Wisconsin Election Commission.
Step 3: Request Your Absentee Ballot or Make a Plan to Vote in Person
You can choose one of the following options to cast your ballot. Vote absentee by mail, vote in-person absentee (early voting), or voting at the polls on election day. I always recommend checking the What's on My Ballot page before going in to vote. That way you can research all of the candidates or any referenda that may be on your ballot in advance.
Vote Absentee from Home:
The easiest way to request an absentee ballot that you can fill out at home, is once again using myvote.wi.gov.
Otherwise, you can submit your Absentee Ballot Request Form to your municipal clerk. You will need to show the form of ID that is acceptable for voting in WI at the same time. This may be as a photocopy in the mail or in the form of a photo sent via email along with the electronic form. This can be submitted on the same day that you submit your voter registration application as well. Again, if you are having trouble submitting these forms via email, ask a friend or loved one who is more comfortable using computers.
You can track your absentee ballot using MyVote.wi.gov. Once you receive your ballot:
- Read and follow the instructions on your ballot. Mistakes may prevent your vote from being counted.
- You must vote your ballot in the presence of an adult witness: Start by showing the witness your unmarked ballot. Then mark your ballot in the presence of your witness. Your witness must confirm that you are the one completing your ballot, but because voting is a private activity, your witness cannot tell you who or what to vote for and cannot see the choices you make on your ballot. A witness must be a U.S. Citizen who is at least 18 years old. For military or overseas voters, your witness must be at least 18 years old but is not required to be a U.S. Citizen. A witness can be a friend, spouse, family member, neighbor, etc. A witness cannot be a candidate on the ballot for this election.
- Refold your voted ballot and place it inside of the return envelope.
- Seal the envelope in the presence of your witness.
- Fill out the required sections of the form on the absentee return envelope. To make sure your ballot is counted, double check the following before you return it: Your voter information: this section is usually completed by your clerk and includes the date of the election, the county and municipality in which you are registered, your name, the address where you are registered, city, and zip code. Voter Signature: you (or your assistant) must sign in the Certification of Voter section. (street number, street name, city). Witness Signature and Address: your witness must sign and provide their full address in the Certification of Witness section. Make sure your ballot is in your envelope and make sure the envelope is sealed properly. If any of the required information above is missing, your ballot will not be counted.
- Return your ballot. Your ballot must be received in time to be delivered to your polling place no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. There are a few options for returning your ballot. You can: Drop it off at your municipal clerk’s office; Drop it off at your polling place or central count location (City of Milwaukee voters should not drop their ballot off at their polling place. They should use a ballot drop box); Drop it off in an absentee ballot drop box (if available); or Mail it back. The United States Postal Service recommends mailing your ballot at least one week before Election Day. Returning a ballot from overseas may take longer. Absentee ballots may not be returned by email or fax.
- If you make a mistake while marking your ballot or otherwise require a replacement ballot, contact your municipal clerk. If there is not enough time to request a replacement ballot and you have not returned your ballot, you may still vote in-person at the polls on Election Day.
Or Vote Early In Person:
As in previous elections, there will be an opportunity to vote early through the in-person absentee process. Early voting for the November election begins on October 20th. For times and locations for early voting, check your municipality below:
Or Vote at the Polls on Election Day:
As usual, you may also vote at the polls on Election Day. Don't forget to bring your ID (see step 1). To see where your polling location will be, check myvote.wi.gov/en-us/FindMyPollingPlace. Polls will be open from 7am until 8pm. You can register to vote at the polls as well, but do not forget your proof of residence document. Please remember to give others their space at the polls for social distancing and electoral privacy reasons.
Thank you for voting!