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Photo ID Law Update #4 -- Changes to Election Process, Effective Immediately

Posted in
High Priority
July 8, 2011
Wisconsin County Clerks
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
Milwaukee County Election Commission
Nathaniel E. Robinsion, Elections Division Administrator
Photo ID Update #4.pdf42.49 KB
Signing the poll list alert.pdf16.81 KB

This high priority communication about Wisconsin’s Voter Photo ID Law is directed primarily to county and municipal clerks with summer recall or special elections.  This communication however, contains important information for all clerks to review and become familiar with.  Please note that this information has been conveyed in previous Updates, and more detail (see our website, “Recent Clerk Communications.”)  We are including a summary in this correspondence for your convenience.

Special Note to County Clerks:  County clerks, we would especially appreciate your additional contact with the municipal clerks in your county asking them to visit the G.A.B. website often or, for clerks without email, review the documents we mailed to them approximately two weeks ago. 

The Voter Photo ID Handout that is required to be given to voters who do not have a legislatively-approved ID and other important documents can be found on our website, primarily in Voter ID Law Updates 2 & 3.  Please visit the site frequently:

To ensure all voters that vote in any election prior to the 2012 February Primary are provided uniform and consistent information, please pay special attention to the following critical aspects of the Voter Photo ID Law:


  • Voters must be asked to show an acceptable photo ID to vote, but voters without an acceptable photo ID will still be allowed to vote.
  • Absentee voters in the clerk’s office must be asked to show an acceptable photo ID to vote, but voters without an acceptable photo ID will still be allowed to vote absentee.
  • Absentee voters by mail do not have to provide an acceptable photo ID to vote and do not have to be given a copy of the Voter Photo ID Handout.
  • Voters unable to provide acceptable photo ID for any election prior to the 2012 February Primary must be given a copy of the Voter Photo ID Handout.  We recommend that all voters be given a copy of the handout, but there is no requirement in the law that you must do so.
  • Voters must sign the poll list before being issued a ballot, unless they identify a disability that prevents them from doing so.  If the voter refuses to sign the poll list, the voter will not issue a ballot and therefore, will not be able to vote. 
  • New Helpful Guidance for Election Inspectors:  The G.A.B. has posted a one-page informational document (attached) on our website under “Recent Clerk Communications.” This guidance is   intended for election inspectors, for election inspectors to convey the new statutory requirement that all voters must sign the poll list (except voters with physical disability and cannot sign).  Municipal clerks are encouraged to have this document available for their election inspectors on Election Day, to respond to voters who have questions regarding the new signature requirements.
  • The G.A.B. has revised the GAB-116 Instructions for Wisconsin Mail-In Registrants and First-Time Voters and is now available on the G.A.B. website.

Also, of special note:

  • Board staff has posted guidance for clerks regarding the request from the Citizens for Election Protection regarding hand counting of ballots.
  • Audio files of the Voter Photo ID Law teleconferences conducted by Board staff during the last several weeks are available for download on the G.A.B. website for clerk and election inspector recertification education and training purposes.
  • Clerks should instruct election inspectors to ensure ballot bags and containers are properly sealed following the Election Night reconciliation/tabulation. Municipal clerks should also verify the ballot bags and containers have been sufficiently secured. 

Thank you for your attention to this important information.  If you have questions, please contact the G.A.B. Help Desk:  (608) 261-2028 or  Thank you.

cc:    Kevin J. Kennedy
        Director and General Counsel
        Government Accountability Board
        Ross D. Hein
        Elections Supervisor
        Government Accountability Board