Military and Overseas Voters

New: The Facts about Military and Overseas Voting in Wisconsin

Military and overseas voters have several options to exercise their right to vote.  They are eligible to vote in Wisconsin by absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and Wisconsin state law.

The State of Wisconsin is in complance with Militiary and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which took effect in November 2010. More information about Wisconsin's efforts to comply with the MOVE Act are available here.

Who is a “Military Voter”?

  • Any member of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Federal Public Health Service or the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Members of the merchant marine of the United States.

  • Civilian employees of the United States and civilians officially attached to a uniformed service who are serving outside the United States.

  • Peace Corps volunteers.

  • Spouses and dependents of those listed in the above categories residing with or accompanying them.

*Note: Military voters who are on active duty away from their primary residence (“active-away”) are subject to special procedures including later absentee ballot request deadlines and voted ballot receipt deadlines.  See below for details.*

Who is a “Permanent Overseas Voter”?

  • a U.S. citizen who is not disqualified from voting under Wis. Stat. s. 6.03, who has attained or will attain the age of 18 by the date of an election at which the citizen proposes to vote and who does not qualify as a resident of this state under Wis. Stat. s. 6.10, but who was last domiciled in this state or whose parent was last domiciled in this state immediately prior to the parent's departure from the United States, and who is not registered to vote or voting in any other state, territory or possession.
  • If an individual is temporarily overseas and is planning on returning, they are considered "temporarily overseas."

Who is a "Temporarily Overseas Voter"?

  • a U.S. citizen who is not disqualified from voting under Wis. Stat. s. 6.03, who has attained or will attain the age of 18 by the date of an election at which the citizen proposes to vote and who qualifies as a resident of this state under Wis. Stat. s. 6.10, but is temporarily living outside of the United States.
  • Temporarily overseas voters are able to receive their ballot by email, fax, or online, but are required to register and submit a copy of a proof of residence document. They must also submit a copy of an acceptable photo ID with their absentee ballot request form.

How do Military and Overseas Voters Register?

Military voters are exempt from registration. Permanent overseas voters must register to vote, but are not required to provide proof of residence.  Temporarily overseas voters must register to vote and must provide a proof of residence document. Please note that the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) serves as both a voter registration and absentee ballot request.

How do they request absentee ballots?

Military and permanent and temporarily overseas voters may request a ballot by mail, fax or email.  Permanent and temporarily overseas voters have until 5 p.m. on the 5th day before the election to make a request.  Military voters have until 5 p.m. on the 4th day before the election to make a request.  However, military active-away voters have until 5 p.m. on Election Day to request an absentee ballot for an election for national office.  These ballots must still be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted An absentee ballot request may be made by fax or email to the municipal clerk.

Military and permanent overseas voters are not required to provide a copy of an acceptable photo ID, but temporarily overseas voters must provide a copy of an acceptable photo ID with their absentee ballot request.

How do Military and Overseas Voters get their ballots?

Military and temporarily overseas voters are eligible to receive a full ballot at any election.  Permanent overseas voters may vote for federal offices only.  In either case, the ballot is delivered by mail, fax, email, or online per the voter’s request.  If the voter does not specify the means of transmission, the clerk may send the ballot via whatever means are practical to expedite receipt of the ballot by the voter.  Local elections officials are encouraged to make use of the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Electronic Transmission Service (ETS) for overseas faxes to reduce costs.  ETS will also forward emails to military and overseas citizens.  Please see the ETS manual for details.

What if the absentee ballot doesn't arrive in time?

Military or overseas voters who do not receive their ballots in time may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which is available online and at U.S. embassies.  All FWAB forms must be returned by mail on Election Day at 8 p.m. to be counted. Please consult the directory of U.S. Embassy web sites.

How do they return their ballots?

All voted absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.  All voted absentee ballots must be returned by mail to the clerk's office and cannot be returned electronically.