The Wisconsin Legislature has determined that the vigorous exercise of our constitutional right to vote should be strongly encouraged. The Legislature also recognizes that it is difficult for some individuals to get to their polling place on Election Day. This is particularly true for individuals residing in nursing homes, community-based residential facilities, retirement homes, residential care apartment complexes, and adult family homes. Wis. Stat. §§6.84(1), 6.875.
In order to meet this need, the Legislature has established the privilege of absentee voting as an extension of the right to vote on Election Day. The Legislature recognizes that the privilege of voting absentee is exercised wholly outside the traditional safeguards of the polling place. The privilege of absentee voting must be carefully regulated to prevent the potential for fraud or abuse, overzealous solicitation of absent electors who may prefer not to participate in an election, and undue influence on an absentee elector to vote for or against a candidate or referendum. Wis. Stat. §6.84(1). The procedures described in this manual are the exclusive means of absentee voting for voters who are occupants of residential care facilities and retirement homes that are required by law or designated by the municipal clerk to be served by Special Voting Deputies (SVDs).
The purpose of this manual is to describe the procedures for absentee voting in Wisconsin nursing homes, qualified community-based residential facilities, qualified retirement homes, qualified residential care apartment complexes, and qualified adult family homes. These procedures have been developed in order to encourage occupants of these facilities to participate in the process of choosing their elected representatives.
February 2022: This manual has been updated to reflect the court's decision to affirm 28 days for residency and the voter registration application revised in 2020.