2018 General Election Reminders and Tips


Timely Attention Required



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


Meagan Wolfe, Interim Administrator
Richard Rydecki, Assistant Administrator

As the Wisconsin Elections Commission and local election officials conduct absentee voting and make final preparations for Election Day, we are offering some final reminders about timely topics and resources that are available to you and your election inspectors. Some of this information may seem basic for experienced clerks, but this may be the first General Election for many clerks and their staff. While this is not an exhaustive checklist, please note the following reminders and resources:

Updates and Reminders from WEC

1. The WEC will again have extended hours to serve local election officials leading up to and on Election Day. We will be answering calls and emails during the following extended hours:

a. Until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday November 1 and Friday November 2

b. From 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. on Saturday November 3 and Sunday, November 4

c. Until 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 5

d. From 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday November 6

If we are aware of unresolved issues on Election Night, staff will be available after 11:00 p.m.

2. We have contacted the political parties and organizations sponsoring election observers to remind them of the rules governing observer conduct, which can be found at this link: http://elections.wi.gov/clerks/education-training/election-observers. Please ensure that you and your election inspectors are familiar with the observer rules, including recent revisions.

3. The Wisconsin Elections Commission continues to audit polling places during each election to ensure accessibility. A team of auditors will be sent to various counties throughout the state and will be focused on locations that have not received a preliminary visit. Please take some time to conduct a walkthrough of all polling places in your municipality to ensure that all polling places are accessible on Election Day.

4. The ERIC Supplemental Poll Lists must be at each polling place for the November General Election, provided you have voters who qualify for the list. As a reminder, the ERIC Supplemental Poll List is used to track and record individuals who were identified by the ERIC process as having moved but who can affirm they have not moved from the address displayed on the list. Please contact our office if you have questions on how to generate or print the ERIC Supplemental Poll List. More information about the lists can be found here: https://elections.wi.gov/node/6138.

5. A post-election audit of voting equipment is required after each General Election in Wisconsin and the WEC will be selecting reporting units for audit on November 7, 2018. Each municipality selected for audit will be promptly notified and provided with audit instructions, resource materials, completion time expectations and training information to assist with the audit process. Details about the selection process can be found here: https://elections.wi.gov/node/6126.

Photo ID Law

6. An unexpired temporary state ID card receipt issued by the DMV through the ID Petition (IDPP) process is a valid form of photo ID for voting purposes, regardless of the issuance date. Also, an expired student ID card, that is otherwise valid, is an acceptable photo ID if it is accompanied by proof of enrollment.

7. Municipal clerks should advise their election inspectors that IDPP palm cards are available for all individuals who cast a provisional ballot, are otherwise unable to cast a regular ballot because they do not present a qualifying ID, or request information regarding obtaining a free ID. Please review the October 16, 2016 clerk communication and the English and Spanish versions of IDPP palm card which can be found here: http://elections.wi.gov/node/4334.

8. We have been advised that clerks are seeing numerous email inquiries requesting information about the photo ID requirement. Here is a draft response you may use to direct voters to our online resources:

If you are not registered to vote, you will need to complete a voter registration application and provide proof of residence. You will also need a photo ID to receive a ballot. Most people have the ID they need to vote. If you need more information about the law, including whether you have an acceptable form of ID, please visit https://bringit.wi.gov. The link contains information about how to get a free state ID card for voting purposes.

Remember that the address on the ID used for voting purposes does not need to be current and that many IDs that are acceptable for voting purposes do not list an address. Help guides, including the acceptable photo ID picture guide can be found here: https://elections.wi.gov/node/3609.

Training Resources

9. The Election Day Manual has been updated to reflect those sections of the manuals affected by the August 23, 2016 One Wisconsin Institute Decision. The manual has also been updated to reflect other court and Commission decisions regarding the use of photography and videography by election observers, voters and members of the media and the use of certain bank and credit card statements as proof of residence: http://elections.wi.gov/clerks/education-training/election-day-manual.

10. Baseline Chief Inspector training is available in the WEC Learning Center if clerks need a certified chief inspector for the November election. The training is two hours in length and consists of a seven-part video presentation and a 30-minute chief inspector self-evaluation. Clerks should submit the “Request to Add Authorized User” form to the Election Help Desk to receive access credentials for Chief Inspectors who needs to take the training. More details about the online training and the form are on our website: https://elections.wi.gov/node/5973.

11. The WEC has partnered with the Disability Vote Coalition to produce a brief video focused on ways in which election inspectors can assist voters with disabilities. It effectively delivers the message that election inspectors can have as much impact on how easy or difficult it is to vote as does the physical layout of a polling place. You may wish to show the video to your election inspectors for this or future elections. The video is posted on our website at: http://elections.wi.gov/clerks/guidance/accessibility/video/this-is-whe….

Clerk Staffing

12. Clerks must be available through 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 2 for several deadlines, including in-person voter registration and absentee ballot requests from indefinitely confined voters and military voters who are not away on active duty.

13. Confirm that you will have adequate staff to handle Election Night reporting duties. As much as we can repeat that Election Night results are not official, the public and media increasingly expect accurate results as quickly as possible. Municipal clerks must report the returns, by ward or reporting unit, to the county clerk no later than two hours after the votes are tabulated. The clock starts ticking after the municipal clerk considers the votes to be tabulated, not when the polls close. County clerks must post all returns on a county website within two hours of receiving the returns. It is better to be meticulous and correct than fast and careless but be aware that there is a greater focus on Election Night procedures. Prepare to have sufficient staff to complete reporting duties as well as to enter outstanding provisional ballots into WisVote.

Voter Registration

14. The Commission has issued updated guidance regarding the use of bank statements and credit card statements as proof of residence for voter registration purposes. Examples of acceptable bank or credit union statements include checking or savings account statements, mortgage statements, home equity line statements, credit card statements or retail credit card statements and others. Please review the October 1, 2018 clerk communication for more information: https://elections.wi.gov/node/6132.

15. Residency for voter registration purposes can be complicated for voters who are students or voters who have recently moved. Voters who have moved and do not meet the 10-day residency requirement for their new address may vote from their previous Wisconsin address. Residency information and scenarios are outlined in the Elections section of the Election Day Manual on pages 33-37: https://elections.wi.gov/clerks/education-training/election-day-manual.

General Election Administration

16. A brochure for voters about the importance of marking a ballot properly has been updated and posted to the agency website. The brochure outlines the voting process and provides examples of ballot markings that will ensure that votes are counted in accordance with the intent of the voter. It can be used in the clerk’s office or at the polling place on Election Day and can be found here: https://elections.wi.gov/publications/brochures/make-your-vote-count.

17. The deadline to register as a write-in candidate is Friday, November 2 at 12:00 p.m. (noon). Remember to check the list of registered write-in candidates at this link: https://elections.wi.gov/elections-voting/2018/fall.

18. Daylight savings time ends on Sunday, November 4 at 2:00 a.m. At that time, clocks will “fall back” and change from 2:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Please confirm that clocks on voting equipment are using the correct time. An official clock, displaying the correct time, should be designated for each polling place so that voting hours are accurately enforced and individuals are allowed to vote if they are in line by 8:00 p.m.

19. If a voter returns an absentee ballot to the municipal clerk (or has placed their ballot in the mail) they cannot spoil their ballot and request a new one at the polling place on Election Day. Please refer to page 107 of the Election Administration Manual for more information on spoiling and issuing replacement absentee ballots.

20. All ballots must be at the polling place by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. There are no exceptions for any type of voter, including military voters.

21. Challenges made by electors must be based on firsthand knowledge that an individual may not be qualified to vote because of age, citizenship, residency, felon status, competency to vote, or because the individual has already voted at the same election or has placed a bet or wager on the election. Only election inspectors may determine the validity of a photo ID. Observers or other electors may not make a challenge based upon the photo ID and are not entitled to view the elector’s photo ID.

Election Security and Contingency Planning

22. Remember to consider and update plans for emergency preparedness, including the possibility of needing to relocate polling locations or extend voting hours. Establish clear lines of communications and contact information with law enforcement and emergency officials in advance. In the event you need to consider moving a polling place on Election Day or extending voting hours, please contact the WEC as we can assist with talking through factors to consider and, if necessary, helping your legal counsel with the necessary court filings. A contingency plan template can be found on the WEC Learning Center.

23. Election security should be considered when planning and administering an election. Staff recently held a webinar focused on elections security updates and best practices. That webinar is a great training resource to view in advance of Election Day: https://elections.wi.gov/publications/video/SecurityUpdates.

24. Templates that can be used to request an extension of polling hours on Election Day have been prepared by staff for use by your municipality’s legal counsel if necessary and have been posted to the agency website. If an emergency situation causes the need to petition for extending polling hours these templates may be used to help expedite the process. These documents can be found here: https://elections.wi.gov/node/6176.

25. Voting equipment security and documentation is an essential aspect of maintaining public confidence in the election process. Be sure to keep voting equipment stored in a secure location until Election Day and secure all memory devices in their compartments with tamper-evident seals after your public test is conducted. All serial numbers from these seals should be maintained on chain of custody documentation, such as the Inspector’s Statement.

We hope these reminders and resources will assist in your Election Day planning. Thank you for your continued work in this final stretch, and please contact the WEC Help Desk at (608) 261-2028 or elections@wi.gov if you have any questions regarding the above information or other issues that arise.