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Impact of Voter ID Legislation With Respect to Absentee Voters

Posted in
Information Only
October 7, 2011
Wisconsin County Clerks
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
Milwaukee County Election Commission
Nathaniel Robinson, Elections Division Administrator
Absentee Docs Distribution Cover Letter 10-7-11.pdf50.54 KB

Disclaimer: The Voter Photo ID Law is in effect as of April 2015. Historical information in this clerk communication may not be current.

Voter Photo ID Law Status: No ID Currently Required for Voting

Two separate judges, on March 6 and March 12, 2012, have issued injunctions preventing the Government Accountability Board from enforcing photo ID requirements in 2011 Act 23. The Wisconsin Department of Justice has 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.

The document below may contain information which is no longer accurate. Please contact the G.A.B. Help Desk if you have questions.


2011 Act 23 (the “Voter Photo ID Bill”) requires all voters, beginning with the 2012 February Primary, to prove their identity before casting a ballot.  Although some form of proof of ID is required of most voters, certain types of absentee voters are either exempt from the Voter ID requirement or may utilize a substitute method in order to satisfy the requirement. 

In-person voters, whether at the polling place on Election Day or by absentee ballot in the clerk’s office, must provide acceptable voter ID each time they vote at the polling place or in person in the clerk’s office.  A list of acceptable voter ID can be found on the Government Accountability Board’s website at this link:

REMEMBER!!  Revised forms are not to be used for any election occurring before January 1, 2012.


The Overview of Absentee Voting Rules document ( breaks down the various types of absentee voters and sets out the respective absentee voting and voter ID requirements for each type.  Please pay close attention to all instructions for each type of absentee voter.


Links to revised absentee voting forms are listed below, along with a brief summary of the changes to each. 

GAB-122 Certificate Envelope: (
Please Note:  The certificate side of the envelope is the same whether the voter is a “regular,” overseas, military away, military not away, or in-person absentee voter.  The address side of the envelope will depend on the type of voter to whom the certificate envelope is sent.

o    Certificate envelopes sent to military voters away from their residence due to active duty contain the address side labeled GAB-122M away. 
o    Certificate envelopes sent to military voters who are not away from their residence due to active duty contain the address side labeled GAB-122M not away. 
o    Certificate envelopes sent to any other voter contain the address side labeled GAB-122 standard.

  • There are two orientations of the certificate side of the envelope —“landscape” and “portrait.”  You may choose the orientation you prefer.  Clerks have commented that envelopes that open on the short end are often less costly than envelopes that open on the long side.  The portrait orientation also removes the problem of postal equipment “seeing” the witness address resulting in misdirection of the ballot.
  • A place for the municipal clerk to initial that the voter has met the ID requirements has been added
  • The line “I further certify that the name and address of the voter is correct as shown” has been added to the Certification of Witness. 
  • A Certification of Care Facility Authorized Representative section has been added.  (A voter who resides in an SVD-eligible facility that is not served by SVDs and who is not indefinitely confined may complete this section in lieu of conventional voter ID.)
  • A section has been added for the municipal clerk to indicate to the poll workers if proof of ID must be enclosed in the certificate envelope in order for the ballot to be processed normally.  If either box is checked in this section, and proof of ID is not enclosed, the ballot is treated as provisional.

GAB-121 Application for Absentee Ballot:
Photo ID information has been added to this form in the “Instructions” sections on both sides of the form.  “Clerk’s Office” was added as a selection in section 5.

Uniform Instructions for Absentee Voters
Uniform Instructions are required to be sent to each absentee voter with their absentee ballot.  Instructions incorporate the ID requirements and fax/email instruction.  There are three separate uniform instruction documents: 

Form Letters for Indefinitely-Confined Absentee Voters and “Regular” Absentee Voters:

You may use these letters to apprise your absentee voters of the ID requirement as it pertains to individual situations.  Voters who have applied for absentee ballots as indefinitely-confined electors receive the “Indefinitely-Confined Letter.”  All other voters (except those who are exempt from the requirement --military, overseas or confidential voters) receive the “General Absentee Voter Letter.”  A list of acceptable photo ID is appended to each letter as a second page so that the list may be copied to the back of each letter.

If you have questions or comments, please contact the Help Desk at (608) 261-2028 or 

Thank you.
cc:    Kevin J. Kennedy/Director and General Counsel/Government Accountability Board