AARP AARP States Wisconsin Voters

How to Vote in Wisconsin's 2020 Election: What You Need to Know

En Espanol | Wisconsin voters are slated to receive applications for absentee ballots in the mail for the first time, creating an option for safely voting from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Any registered Wisconsin voter can request an absentee ballot — you don't need to cite a reason.
  • Early voting is also available, helping cut down on crowded Election Day polling places.
  • But challenges to voting rules could lead to more confusion in November, so watch for potential changes to voting procedures and polling places.
A man walks out of an absentee voting station
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Here's what else you need to know:

How do I register to vote?

Register to vote online at the state election commission's My Vote Wisconsin site, or download the application from the site and mail it to your municipal clerk by Oct. 14. You can also register in person at your clerk’s office by Oct. 30. And you can register in person on Election Day with proof of residency. Check your registration status at My Vote Wisconsin.

How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

The Wisconsin Elections Commission will mail out applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters in mid-September, but you can request one before then online or at your municipal clerk’s office. You don’t need an excuse to vote absentee, but you must submit a copy of your photo identification with the application unless it's already on file.

The commission will mail absentee ballot applications to registered voters who haven’t already requested one. Oct. 29 is the last day to request an absentee ballot online or by mail.

Note that you will need a witness signature on the envelope when you return your absentee ballot. The U.S. Postal Service recommends allowing at least one week for your absentee ballot to arrive at the clerk's office. It must get there by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3 to be counted.

How do I know my absentee ballot is secure?

Wisconsin officials enforce voter registration procedures and confirm the identification of all voters. Most voters must furnish photo identification at the polls or with their absentee ballot request.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Can I vote before Election Day?

In Wisconsin, early voting is officially called “in-person absentee voting.” It begins as early as two weeks before Election Day. Check for early voting locations at My Vote Wisconsin.

What form of identification do I need to vote?

You'll need an acceptable photo ID, such as a Wisconsin driver’s license or identity card, a valid passport or a U.S. military ID. Check the full list of acceptable IDs. Most voters must also furnish one of these forms of ID with their absentee ballot request.

What is being done to make polling places safe from the coronavirus?

The state elections commission took safety precautions for its spring primaries, including special training for poll workers, keeping lines of voters outdoors, and supplying hand sanitizer. It has not yet announced safety measures for the fall general election, but you can check its website for updates.

Will I be able to vote in the same place as I always have?

Some polling locations may be closed or changed due to the pandemic. You can check your polling location at My Vote Wisconsin.

What are the key races in my state?

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. House: All 8 seats
  • State Legislature: All State Assembly seats, plus 16 Senate positions

Voting rules and procedures may change before Election Day. We’ll update this story if they do, so bookmark this and check back.

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AARP is urging older Americans to ask the candidates 5 key questions:

  • Just over half of all older Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for at least 50 percent of their income. If elected, how will you ensure that current and future Social Security benefits are not cut as part of deficit reduction?
  • Half of the people with traditional Medicare spend at least a sixth of their income on health care. If elected, how will you protect Medicare from benefit cuts, as well as lower health care costs and ensure seniors continue receiving the affordable health care they have earned?
  • COVID-19 has caused death and suffering for too many older Americans who require long-term care. If elected, how will you make sure seniors can access safe and affordable long-term care at home, as well as in facilities like nursing homes and assisted living?

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