Voting by Mail

Voting by Absentee Ballot

Voting by absentee ballot is a convenient way to take part in the voting process. Find your municipal clerk’s office to learn about the in-person absentee voting hours and locations in your community. Interested in voting absentee by mail? To get started, you’ll need information about how to fill out your ballot, and successfully cast an absentee vote.

    Any qualified elector.  A qualified elector is a United States citizen, 18 years of age or older, who has resided in the district in which he or she intends to vote for at least 28 consecutive days.  The elector must be registered in order to receive an absentee ballot.

    Note: Military voters are not required to register (submit an EL-131) in order to vote.

    You can request an absentee ballot on or make a request to your municipal clerk in person, in writing, or electronically using the Application for Absentee Ballot (EL-121). You can also write a letter requesting an absentee ballot which provides the information required on the application form. 

    Military and Overseas electors may also use the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA), which is a combination registration form and absentee ballot request. 

    Online and by mail: The request must be in the office of the municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on the *5th day preceding an election. 

    In-person at the clerk's office: The last possible day for a clerk to conduct in-person absentee voting is the Sunday before the election.  Each municipal clerk's office sets its own schedule for in-person absentee voting.

    Note: A person cannot request an absentee ballot in person and leave the clerk's office with the ballot. The ballot is either voted in the clerk's office, or the clerk must mail the ballot to the elector.

    • The deadline for indefinitely confined electors and military electors (not-away) to request an absentee ballot is the 4th day before the election.
    • For a federal election, the deadline for military electors who are away from their residence due to active duty to request an absentee ballot is 5:00 p.m. on election day.
    • Special provisions are made for hospitalized electors and sequestered jurors to request and vote by absentee ballot on election day.  Wis. Stat. §§ 6.86(1)(b),(3)(a)

    An absentee ballot must be sent by the following dates to any voter with an absentee application on file.

    • 47 days before a federal election
    • 21 days before a primary or other election.  Wis. Stat. § 7.15(1))(cm). 
    • When a request for an absentee ballot is made by mail, the absentee ballot must be mailed to the elector within one day of the request.
    • Voters requesting an absentee ballot in person must cast the ballot in the clerk's office.  Voters cannot take the absentee ballot out of the clerk's office.

    Special provisions are made for issuing absentee ballots to residents of a nursing home, qualifying retirement homes and community-based residential facilities. See our manual Absentee Voting in Residential Care Facilities and Retirement Homes.

    Only military, permanent overseas, or temporarily overseas voter can request an absentee ballot to be sent to them by fax or email.

    You can see what is on your ballot on

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