Voting by Absentee Ballot

You don’t have to head to your polling place on election day to vote. In Wisconsin, voters have many safe and secure ways to participate in elections — including voting by absentee ballot. With absentee voting, you can vote early at your municipal clerk’s office before Election Day, or receive your ballot by mail and either mail in your completed ballot or drop it off at your clerk’s office or polling place or absentee counting location.

Voting by absentee ballot is a convenient way to take part in the voting process. Find your municipal clerk’s office to learn about the in-person absentee voting hours and locations in your community. Interested in voting absentee by mail? To get started, you’ll need information about how to fill out your ballot, and successfully cast an absentee vote.

How to Request an Absentee Ballot

You don’t need a reason to be an absentee voter. Every registered Wisconsin voter has the ability to request an absentee ballot. But before you can do that, you have to be registered to vote. 

Download the Requesting an Absentee Ballot Fact Sheet - PDF

Step 1: Make sure you’re registered to vote

You can register by mail or in-person at your municipal clerk's office. You can also register online at Depending on how you register, you may need to show a proof of residence document.

Even if you think you’re registered, it’s a good idea to check your status and make sure your name and address are up to date. Most registered voters will need to provide an acceptable photo ID when they request an absentee ballot. You can request your ballot easily online, especially if you use a mobile device. 

Calendar imageDon’t miss out. There are different deadlines for registering to vote in-person, by mail, or online in Wisconsin. Make sure you know the different registration deadlines for 2020’s General Election. You can always register to vote at your polling place on Election Day.

Step 2: Request your absentee ballot

Interested in voting absentee by mail? Request your absentee ballot in minutes at You can also request a ballot by sending an absentee ballot request form to your municipal clerk’s office. Most voters will need to provide an acceptable photo ID when they request an absentee ballot. It’s easy to do online, especially if you use a mobile device.

Eligible voters who want to vote in person before Election Day can request and cast an absentee ballot at their municipal clerk’s office. Visit to find your local clerk’s office, and remember to bring an acceptable photo ID

stopwatch imageAct early. It takes Wisconsin time to process voter requests and mail out ballots. Don’t wait until the General Election deadlines to request your absentee ballot.


Request an Absentee Ballot

How to Submit Your Absentee Ballot

Deciding to vote absentee by mail doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Through Election Day, local municipal clerk’s office staff are available to help you correctly fill out and submit your absentee ballot in time to be counted in Wisconsin’s upcoming elections.


Download the Submitting a Valid Absentee Ballot Fact Sheet - PDF

Step 3: Filling out your absentee ballot

Before you begin voting absentee by mail, line up a witness who can verify that you filled out your own ballot. Choose an adult U.S. citizen who is not a candidate in the upcoming election. A witness shouldn’t see how you vote; that’s private. They can observe at a distance — from across the room, through a window, or even over video chat — as long as they can sign your ballot certificate themselves once it’s complete.

Fill out your ballot carefully. If you make a mistake or change your mind about a selection, contact your municipal clerk’s office for help. Once your ballot is complete, place it in the certified envelope. Then seal and sign the certificate envelope, and make sure your witness adds their address and signature, too.

Step 4: Delivering your completed ballot

If you vote absentee by mail, there are three different ways you can return your completed absentee ballot. You can mail it back using the addressed, postage-paid envelope included with your ballot packet. You can drop it off at your municipal clerk’s office. Voters can even take their completed absentee ballot to their polling place or absentee counting location by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters should follow the specific return instructions included with their absentee ballot.

Visit to find your polling place or contact your municipal clerk’s office to learn more about their hours of operation and other secure drop-off locations in your community.

Mail imageAbsentee ballots must arrive at your municipal clerk’s office or polling place by Election Day to be counted. The U.S. Postal Service suggests mailing absentee ballots at least one week before Election Day for the General Election.



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How Wisconsin Delivers Secure and Accurate Elections

Wisconsin uses technology, highly-trained people, and practical safeguards to protect local election integrity and ensure that every valid ballot that is cast is counted accurately — including absentee ballots.


Download the Wisconsin Election Security & Accuracy Fact Sheet - PDF

In Wisconsin, valid absentee votes are always counted, no matter how tight the race may be. They are also counted on Election Day, usually on the same equipment used by polling place voters. But that’s not all. Other security measures include:

  • To vote at the polls or by absentee ballot, eligible citizens must register to vote.
  • A powerful statewide database verifies voter information, tracks how ballots are cast, and ensures only one vote per voter is counted.
  • Voter information is regularly updated, allowing election officials to prevent ineligible voters from participating at the polls or by absentee ballot. 
  • Wisconsin creates a paper record of every vote that is cast, no matter what kind of ballot or equipment voters use.
  • There is a transparent chain of custody for every voting device in Wisconsin, including polling place and absentee ballots, which are always securely stored and transported.
  • Any member of the public can observe the election process, from voting equipment testing to the counting of the ballots at the polling place.
  • Vote totals are triple-checked. In Wisconsin, election results aren’t official until they have been checked at the municipal level, double-checked by the county, and certified by the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission.
  • People who may have voted illegally are identified and referred to law enforcement, thanks to statewide fraud audits conducted after every election.

Clerk imageQuestions? Contact your municipal clerk’s office to learn more about the security measures that protect the election process in your community.


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