Updates to Absentee Forms for Voter Photo ID Implementation

Priority

High Priority

Date

To

Wisconsin County Clerks
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
Milwaukee County Election Commission

From

Michael Haas, Elections Division Administrator
David Buerger, Elections Specialist

The guidance in this memorandum has been superseded by the U.S. Supreme Court’s order of October 9, 2014, directing that voters shall not be required to present photo ID to obtain a ballot for the 2014 General Election.  The memorandum is posted for historical information and to assist local election officials seeking guidance previously issued by the G.A.B., but Wisconsin election officials are prohibited from requesting voters to present photo ID until further notice.  The Government Accountability Board will notify local election officials if the photo ID requirement is subsequently reinstated for future elections.

Voter Photo ID Guidance 2014-2

The Government Accountability Board has updated the following forms related to absentee voting to reflect the new Voter Photo ID requirement.  The use of old forms is only acceptable where indicated below.

Uniform Absentee Ballot Instructions

These instruction sheets are required to be sent with all absentee ballots.  While all absentee voters must either be exempt from the photo ID requirement or have already provided photo ID before being sent a ballot, these instructions also indicate which voters are subject to the photo ID requirement to address any concerns voters may have about the photo ID requirement.

Municipal clerks may use up existing stock of the old uniform instructions, but should transition to the new instructions once all existing stock is used.

The revised uniform instructions can be found at: http://gab.wi.gov/forms/voters-uniform-military

Absentee Certificate Envelope (GAB-122)

The Absentee Certificate Envelope (GAB-122) is the certificate-side of the envelope the voter will use to return their voted ballot.  The following revisions were made to accommodate the provisions of the photo ID law:

•    A line was added in the upper right corner for the clerk or deputy clerk to initial when the voter has met the photo ID requirement.
•    The section titled “Certification of Care Facility Authorized Representative” was added in the lower left corner for voters who reside in care facility that is eligible for service by Special Voting Deputies (SVDs), but where SVDs were not sent.  
o    If the voter is not indefinitely confined, the voter may either provide photo ID or have an authorized representative of their care facility sign in this section to meet the photo ID requirement.
o    If the voter is indefinitely confined, the signature of the witness is sufficient to meet the photo ID requirement.  
o    If used, this section must be completed in addition to the voter and witness sections.  

•    A section was added to the lower left corner for the municipal clerk to use to indicate to election inspectors when either photo ID must be enclosed or the “Certification of Care Facility Authorized Representative” section is required to be completed.
o    If this section is marked and the voter does not enclose photo ID or have an authorized representative of the care facility sign, the ballot is rejected.

Municipal clerks may use up existing stock of the old Absentee Certificate Envelope for all absentee voters except voters residing in care facilities not visited by Special Voting Deputies as these voters will need the “Certification of Care Facility Authorized Representative” section.  If using the prior envelope, the clerk must write “ID provided” or “ID exempt” in the upper right corner as appropriate.  This should also be tracked on the absentee ballot log.

The revised GAB-122 can be found at: http://gab.wi.gov/forms/gab-122

Application for Absentee Ballot (GAB-121)

The Application for Absentee Ballot (GAB-121) is the recommended form for registered electors to use to request an absentee ballot.  Electors are not required to use the GAB-121 and may apply for an absentee ballot via any written statement.  The following revisions were made to accommodate the provisions of the photo ID law:

•    An instructional bullet was added to the front page informing voters of the photo ID requirement.
•    The instructions on the reverse side were expanded to include the various categories of voters who are either exempt or have alternatives to providing a photo ID.
•    Some instructional bullets on the reverse side were removed to keep the instructions to a single page.

Municipal clerks should discontinue distribution of the old GAB-121 as it may lead voters to erroneously submit absentee applications without proof of identity.

The revised GAB-121 can be found at: http://gab.wi.gov/forms/gab-121-english

Type E Notice

The Type E Notice is to inform voters of the process and deadlines for obtaining and casting an absentee ballot.  This notice has been updated to include the requirement for voters to submit a proof of identification with their absentee request.  The revised Type E Notice can be found at: http://gab.wi.gov/publications/election-notices/type-e

Contact Information

If you have any further questions regarding the above information or other issues that arise, please contact the G.A.B. Help Desk at (608) 261-2028, or gabhelpdesk@wi.gov.  

Thank you.