Military and Overseas Voting: FWAB and FPCA Tip Sheets


Information Only



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


Meagan Wolfe, Administrator

This communication provides information regarding the following documents that are located here: The attached tip sheets will permanently live at this link.

1. Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) Tip Sheet

2. Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) Tip Sheet

3. Military and Overseas Voting Cheat Sheet

It is important that all military and overseas voters are afforded opportunities to vote in accordance with Wisconsin Law. Both the FPCA and the FWAB are provided by the Federal Voter Assistance Program and are designed to be used across the United States. Because of the universality of the forms, each has their own quirks when processing. Each tip sheets covers important FAQs, what the ballots are used for, requirements for processing the form, and sending the ballot to the voter. The Military and Overseas Voting Cheat Sheet reviews important information such as requirements for voting, requirements for absentee voting, emailing and faxing the ballot, and important request deadlines.

Please note that all the below ballot deadlines have passed for the November 2020 General Election. The county deadline was Wednesday, September 16 and the municipal absentee deadline was Thursday, September 17. These deadlines are in here for your reference for future elections.

County Ballot Deadlines: Counties must send ballots to the clerk by the 48th day prior to every federal election and presidential preference election. When sending the ballot, county clerks must ensure that each municipality receives their ballot how they need it (if municipalities have access to a printer, PDFs may be sent to the municipality). However, each county must individually check in with each municipality prior to sending just a PDF to ensure that this is adequate.

Municipal Absentee Deadline: All municipalities must send out absentee ballots to military and overseas voters with absentee requests on file by the 47th day prior to every federal election and presidential preference election, and 21 days prior to other elections. A federal election includes any ballot that has a president, congress, or senate race on the ballot. Any absentee request sent after the 47th day must be sent to the voter within one business day after receiving. Business days are Monday-Friday, regardless if the clerk’s office hours or vacation plans. Any requests that are received on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays may be sent out on Monday and still be considered timely. Please note that the federal absentee deadline for military and overseas voters is the 45th day prior to the election. Wis. Stat. § 7.15(1)(cm)

These ballots must be sent in whatever method the voter requested the ballot. Military, Temporary Overseas, and Permanent Overseas voters may request to receive their ballot via email or fax and clerks are required to honor those requests. Military and Permanent Overseas voters may also request to receive their ballot online via the MyVote Wisconsin website ( Voters who request their ballot to be delivered to them online will receive an email notifying them their ballot is ready. Please read all MyVote notifications thoroughly to see if you need to mail, fax, or email a ballot to a UOCAVA voter. If a military or permanent overseas elector asks to receive the ballot “online” (see Ballot Delivery Method NOT Application Source) then the elector will access the ballot on MyVote and the clerk does not need to send the ballot. If the elector asks to receive the ballot by mail, email or fax, the ballot must be transmitted by the method requested. Please note that temporary overseas electors may not receive ballots through MyVote because they must submit photo identification to the municipal clerk before receiving a ballot.

It is our belief that local election officials should focus on meeting the 47-day ballot delivery deadline for military and overseas voters. Clerks should then make their best effort to comply with Wis. Stat. 7.15(1)(cm) which states that all voters with a valid request on file should be sent a ballot by the 47th day prior to a federal election.

How do I find my military and overseas voters on WisVote?

To see all of your military and overseas voters in WisVote, you must sort two different ways in WisVote. If you do not do both sorts, you will not capture your voters who are both indefinitely confined and military or overseas voters. A voter can be both.

1. The first sort will be by Application Type, including military, overseas, and temporarily overseas voters.

2. The second sort will be by Application Type, including indefinitely confined voters, and also by Voter Type, including military, and permanently overseas voters.

If you have any questions regarding military and overseas voting requirements, please contact the WEC Help Deck at [email protected].