Details on How to Vote in the Wisconsin 2020 General Election

How to Vote

Voting is still dangerous and even more confusing than ever, so we’ve put together an updated version of our details on how to vote in the Wisconsin 2020 General Election! We’ll be going through the most common cases, but there are additional and different accommodations for people who are permanently confined, hospitalized, permanently overseas, or in the military, so I’d recommend reading through and for more information. Finally, things may change if the COVID situation changes, but in general, operate under the assumption that more permissive voting measures will be challenged, as they were in April and August.

Voter ID:

You need a valid photo ID to vote in Wisconsin. It doesn’t need to have your Wisconsin address on it, since you can provide a lease, bill, or other document to prove your residence when you register, including Voter Enrollment Verification from the university. There are many acceptable IDs, including a Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID, or a US Passport. If you don’t have those handy, or any of the others listed on the link above, you can use you wiscard to get a valid Student Voter ID from the Wiscard office in Union South, any Monday or Thursday 9:00am to 4:00pm CDT or you can request an electronic version of the Student Voter ID following the instructions HERE.

Registering to vote:

If you aren’t already registered, you’ll need to do that first. There are multiple ways and deadlines to still do so. First, though, if your ID doesn’t have a Wisconsin address, you’ll need to provide a document that does. We strongly recommend registering online or by mail. The registration deadlines are:

  • Online: Register HERE by October 14th (20 days prior to the election)
    • While you’re doing that, you can request your absentee ballot too!
  • By Mail: Must be postmarked by October 13th (the 3rd Wednesday prior to the election). Download the form HERE and should be mailed to:
    Madison City Clerk’s Office
    210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
    Room 103, City-County Building
    Madison, WI 53703
  • In-person: Register by October 30th by 5:00pm (the Friday before the election) at the Madison City Clerk’s Office (address above; please wear a mask!). If you live outside Madison, check HERE for your municipal clerk’s office location
  • Day of Election: Register on the day of the election, November 3rd by 8:00pm  in person at your polling place, which you can find HERE. You will need both a) proof of residency b) proof of identification. (Again, please wear a mask!) 


We highly recommend voting absentee by mail, which any eligible voter can do, no questions asked. If you do, be aware that you’ll need someone to witness and sign to confirm you were the one who filled out the ballot. Because of delays in the mail, we very much recommend requesting absentee ballots as soon as possible. You’ll need your ID to vote, but you won’t need to prove your residence again; that’s just when you register. Further, if voting absentee you need to submit a copy of a valid photo ID when requesting your absentee ballot. If you have been convicted of a felony but are a) not currently incarcerated b) are not on probation, parole, or extended supervision, you are eligible to vote. If you are voting via absentee ballot, you can check the status of it HERE to make sure it’s been received, processed, has no issues with it, and so on.

The deadlines are as follow:

  • To request an absentee ballot: by October 29th, 5:00pm CDT. Unless you plan to turn it in in-person, please request it before this date. Note that you can have your absentee ballot sent anywhere, for example if you’re staying with family but registered in Madison.
  • To request and submit your absentee ballot in person: From October 20th-October 31st. You can view a list of locations, their drop-off hours and their protocols HERE (Please wear a mask!)
  • You can also fill out and submit absentee ballots which were mailed to you on October 3rd between 9:00am and 3:00pm CDT during Madison’s Democracy in the Park events, and weekdays 8:00am to 4:30pm CDT at the Madison City Clerk’s Office, 210 MLK Blvd, Room 103, or at the Library Dream Bus stops at any of the locations and times listed HERE
  • Submit your absentee ballot: by November 3rd, 8:00pm CDT
    • Leave a week for mailed ballots (mail by October 27th at the absolute latest);
    • Or bring it to your polling place on election day. 
  • Voting in person: November 3rd, 7:00 AM – 8:00pm CDT: If you didn’t request an absentee ballot, you can vote in person. Make sure to double check your polling place HERE, since it may have changed. Bear in mind that with consolidated polling places, you may experience a longer line than usual. Please wear a mask and attempt to physically distance while in line, your safety and the health of the community are important. 

If you have any problems with voting, feel free to email, and we’ll try to get back to you within a day! If you have trouble while you’re at the polls, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (an election protection coalition with more legal expertise than us!)