Wisconsin has two upcoming elections: the August 11 partisan primary and the general and presidential election on Nov. 3.
Student turnout strong in 2018
A national survey finds student turnout at UW–Madison increased by nearly 18 percentage points in the 2018 midterm elections compared to 2014.
Interactive voting tool
For customized details on how to vote based upon your circumstances, visit the interactive tool at go.wisc.edu/StepsToVoteUW.
Be prepared to vote.
Here’s what you need to know.
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If you are a U.S. citizen, will be 18 years of age on or before Election Day, have resided in Wisconsin for at least 10 consecutive days before Election Day, and are not currently serving a felony sentence, including probation/parole, you are eligible to vote in Wisconsin.
What IDs are acceptable to vote?
Acceptable forms of identification include a valid Wisconsin driver’s license, Wisconsin state ID, U.S. passport, U.S. Uniformed Services card, Veterans Affairs ID, tribal ID or Certificate of Naturalization.
The address on your ID does not matter; the purpose of presenting your ID at the polls is to prove your identity.
Students without one of the forms of ID listed above can obtain a UW–Madison voter-compliant ID card free of charge, and present that at the polls together with a Voter Enrollment Verification letter (printed or on a mobile device). Both documents must be presented at the polls.
The UW-issued card may only be used for voting purposes. It remains valid for voting even after the expiration date printed on the card. It is not intended as a replacement or substitute for the Wiscard and is not valid for any other purpose or service on campus.
Users of the UW–Madison voter-compliant ID card must also present proof of enrollment, such as the university’s Voter Enrollment Verification letter (in MyUW’s Student Center). Students may print the form or display it to the poll worker on an electronic device. This form can also be used to show proof of residence for voter registration.
Obtaining a voter-compliant ID card
Bring a valid Wiscard to the Wiscard Office at Union South and request a free voter-compliant ID card.
Wiscard Office Hours
NOTE: Your Wiscard student ID is not valid as a voter ID. Read Chancellor Blank’s statement on this decision.
Obtaining the free voter-compliant ID card does not register you to vote. That’s a separate process – read more under Registration.
In addition, a Wiscard can be obtained at the following places on election days:
- Feb. 18 spring primary: Wiscard office and Sellery residence hall.
- April 7 spring election and Presidential primary: Wiscard office and seven campus polling locations.
- August 11 fall primary: Wiscard office and Memorial Union.
- November 3, presidential election: Wiscard office and seven campus polling locations.
Students shouldn’t wait until election day to acquire the card. Any student who is issued a Wiscard (and doesn’t present a Wisconsin driver license) is asked if they would like a voter ID.
Do you need to register?
If you are voting at the same address as the last time you voted (including apartment number), you should already be registered. You can check if you are registered at My Vote Wisconsin.
You will need to register or re-register if:
- You are a first-time voter
- You have moved to a new address (or even changed apartment numbers)
- You have changed your legal name since the last time you voted
Prepare to register
How to register
Options for registering include online registration (for those eligible); by mail; in person; or at your polling place on Election Day.
Register online: You can complete your voter registration online at myvote.wi.gov if:
· You have a current valid Wisconsin driver license or Wisconsin ID card.
· Your current name and zip code are in the DMV database.
You can update your address in the DMV database at wisconsindot.gov/Pages/online-srvcs/change-addy/default.aspx. No further proof of residence is needed. The address on your ID does not matter.
Online registration closes March 30 for the April 7 election.
Register at a campus event: Find an event here.
Register by mail (in Wisconsin) (more than 20 days prior to the election): Follow the instructions on this website.
Register in person (in Madison):
You can register at the City Clerk’s Office until the close of business on the Friday before an election. Everyone needs to provide acceptable proof of current residence to register this close to the election. (See acceptable forms of proof listed below.) Documents used as proof of address may be presented in paper or electronic format.
Until 20 days prior to an election, you can register at several additional locations, including any Madison Public Library.
Once registration closes 20 days before an election, you may only register to vote in the City Clerk’s Office or other City of Madison in-person absentee voting site (during absentee voting hours) with proof of address, until the close of absentee voting the Friday before the election.
Only Election Registration Officials, who are employees of the City, can register you, unless you can register online.
The City of Madison has trained Election Registration Officials who will be able to register City of Madison residents and assist them in casting an in-person absentee ballot at Madison Public Libraries and some other locations (including the SAC on campus) within that 20-day window. The City of Madison has a schedule of in-person absentee voting for this election on its website here.
Students who live in other municipalities need to contact their municipal clerks for information. They will have to register in-person at their clerk’s office or at the polls. They can get the contact information through MyVote.wi.gov or here: https://www.countyofdane.com/election/clerks.aspx
Register on Election Day at your polling station: You will need the same items needed to register at the clerk’s office as described above. Being pre-registered helps you vote faster on Election Day, but registering at the polls is permissible.
- If you have been issued a Wisconsin driver license or WisDOT-issued ID that is current and valid, you must provide the number and expiration date.
- If your Wisconsin driver license is revoked, suspended or expired; or your WisDOT-issued ID is expired, provide the number and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- If you have not been issued a Wisconsin driver’s license or WisDOT-issued ID, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- If you have none of these documents, you will be able to indicate that fact.
Acceptable proofs of current address for registering
If you register by mail, in person, or on Election Day, you must provide proof of residence. This document proves where you live in Wisconsin.
The following are acceptable, but they must have your current name and address printed on them.
- An electronically displayed or printed Voter Enrollment Verification Letter from the Office of the Registrar. (Guest and Special Students are not eligible for the voter enrollment letter.) Read more about this topic.
- A current and valid Wisconsin driver’s license or Wisconsin identification card.
- Any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit
- An identification card issued by an employer in the normal course of business, which has a photograph of the cardholder, but not a business card.
- A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
- A current residential lease.
- A UW–Madison or Edgewood College ID card with a photograph of the cardholder, accompanied by a fee statement for the current semester.
- A utility bill for the period commencing not earlier than 90 days before the election. A printed copy of an online bill is acceptable.
- A bank, credit union or credit card statements. A printed copy of an online statement is acceptable.
- A paycheck.
- A check or other document issued by a unit of government, including the University of Wisconsin.
- A printed copy of your current bursar’s statement.
- In lieu of a paper copy, individuals may present an electronic display of a qualifying document on a mobile device or computer to prove their address for residency verification.
Note: A UW–Madison voter-issued ID card on its own is NOT acceptable proof of address.
Where do I vote?
Note: You can only vote once per election cycle, in one location. You cannot vote in Madison AND a separate home district.
Polling places for off-campus residents
Polling places for campus residents
Polling places have been changed for the April 7 election. They are:
- Memorial Library (Wards 47, 48, 57)
- Eagle Heights Community Center (Wards 59, 60)
- Union South (Wards 55, 56, 58, 66)
- 21 N. Park St. (Wards 54, 67)
You can only vote at your polling place on election day. Find out where you vote.
You can vote before Election Day using absentee voting, either by mail or in person. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
Voters can also request an absentee ballot through MyVote.wi.gov.
Early on-campus voting
Locations and times will be announced closer to the election date.
While studying abroad
Study abroad students should plan ahead about registering, getting an absentee ballot, and photo ID. See tips for study abroad students.
Please note all deadlines so that you can get your absentee ballot submitted in time.
In your home state
Visit Project Vote Smart to find dates of elections in other states.