Skip to main content

Procedures for Canvassing Late-Arriving Absentee and Provisional Ballots -- Election Day Provisional Ballot Procedures.

Posted in
High Priority
February 13, 2012
Wisconsin County Clerks
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
Milwaukee County Election Commission
Nathaniel Robinson, Elections Division Administrator

*Outdated documents have been removed from this communication

2011 Wisconsin Act 23 (the Photo ID Law) and 2011 Wisconsin Act 75 have significantly impacted election procedures as they pertain to provisional and absentee voters.  Electors who voted provisional ballots have until 4:00 p.m. on the Friday following the election to submit missing documentation in order for their ballot to be processed and counted.  Likewise, absentee ballots postmarked no later than election day can be processed and counted if received no later than 4:00 p.m. on the Friday following the election.

The Photo I.D. law provides that a person offering to vote on election day who cannot show acceptable ID may vote provisionally.  Due to this additional reason for an elector to vote provisionally, we expect an increase in the number of provisional ballots issued.  In the past, the number of provisional ballots issued has been minimal, and some municipalities have never had cause to issue them.  Now, provisionally voting will be an issue for all municipalities.

Pending legislation directs (AB-476/SB-381)that the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) is required to process and tally late-arriving absentee and provisional ballots.  This means that regardless of whether there are municipal offices or referenda on the ballot, each municipality’s MBOC will be required to convene to process and count any late-arriving absentee and provisional ballots.  This procedure is in effect for the February 21, 2012 Spring Primary.

The attached documents detail the procedure for election inspectors to use when issuing provisional ballots on Election Day, and the procedure for the Municipal Board of Canvassers to use when processing late-arriving absentee and provisional ballots.  The G.A.B. will host a teleconference on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  The attached documents will be discussed at that teleconference.  To participate in the teleconference, please call: 1-888-517-2485 (toll free) and enter passcode 6253501#.

If you have questions with respect to this correspondence, please contact Diane Lowe at 608-266-3276 or

Thank you.