Voter’s Guide Fall 2020 Primary

On this page:

Guidance on Voting and COVID-19

Voting Resources listed on this page are subject to change due to rapidly unfolding changes related to COVID-19. Please refer to the City of Madison Clerk’s website for the latest information. 

According to the Dane County Clerk, there are no plans to postpone the August 11th election. Polls will be open, but may change depending on conditions closer to Election Day.

We recommend that all members request a mail-in absentee ballot, in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines recommended by the Dane County Public Health and the CDC.

The deadline to register and request a ballot online for this election is July 22. If you are already registered, the deadline to request a ballot is August 11. Please check here to see if you are already registered to vote at your current address

Choose your own adventure: TAA Guide to Voting Absentee in Wisconsin

How to Vote:

Voting right now is weird and dangerous because of the pandemic, and this page is here to simplify it for you! In addition, not all of the accommodations from April carry over to August. This page will go through the most common cases, but there are more valid forms of ID, and extended deadlines and additional accommodations for people who are permanently confined, hospitalized, permanently overseas, or in the military.

Please check and for more information.

Finally, the voting guidance may change as COVID-19 case counts change, but in general, operate under the assumption that more permissive voting measures will be challenged in courts, as they were in April.

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. There are many acceptable IDs, but you probably have 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 ID from the Wiscard office in Union South, any Monday or Thursday 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM as well as on election day, or from Memorial Union on election day.

Registering to Vote:

If you aren’t already registered, you’ll need to register to vote at your physical polling location immediately before you vote. If you are registering to vote at a polling place, be sure to bring both a proof of residence and an acceptable photo ID. If you’re already registered, you still need an acceptable ID like a passport or your UW-Madison Voter ID with a current letter of enrollment. A Wisconsin state ID works but your out of state driver’s licenses will not be accepted.


We highly recommend voting absentee (by mail) which any eligible voter can do without excuse. If you do, be aware that you’ll need someone to witness and sign to confirm you were the one who filled it out.

The USPS recommends allowing a week for ballot transit, so it’s now time to drop your ballot off or vote in person! Check out this map we made of where the in-person absentee sites are and when they’re open. You can also drop your absentee ballot off at your polling place on Tuesday, election day. Be sure to check here to see if it’s moved since the spring. We’re all aware of the risks of COVID-19, so make sure you mask up, keep your distance, and sanitize and wash your hands while voting. To know what to expect, read this first person account by a union member dropping their ballot in the FAQs below.

The deadlines below note the latest dates for types of voting. Because of the time of the ballot in transit, we 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 only when you register. The remaining deadlines are:

  • August 11, 8:00 PM: Return your absentee ballot. Leave a week for mailed ballots, or turn it in at an in-person absentee site, or bring it to your polling place on election day. If you received an absentee ballot, do bring it to the polling place rather than requesting a new one, to avoid any delays or trouble getting your vote counted.
  • August 11, 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM: If you didn’t request an absentee ballot, you can vote in person. Your polling place may have changed due to COVID-19, so please check on that. Please also note that especially with potentially 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.

TAA Endorsements for Spring 2020

The TAA has endorsed:

Please read the TAA 2020 Spring Primaries Endorsements page for more information.

Process for TAA Endorsements

During the TAA General Membership Meeting (GMM) on Thursday, July 23, the TAA Political Education Committee will introduced two motions for endorsement for the August 11 election. Members at the GMM approved these recommendations to formally endorse these candidates. Endorsing a candidate allows the TAA to campaign for a candidate and allows PEC to spend their money to support a campaign.

The races listed below reflect races on the ballot in the City of Madison. To see the ballot for your specific address, please go to

Wisconsin State Senate

There are two main Senate districts that have a contested Democratic Party primary. Unsure of which district you live in? You check on My Vote WI!

16th Senate District

26th Senate District (most TAA members live here)

Wisconsin State Assembly

Dane County covers 13 Wisconsin State Assembly districts. Four of these Assembly districts have a contested Democratic Party primary. Unsure of which district you live in? You can either check it on My Vote WI or by taking a quick glance at this map (PDF)

48th Assembly District

76th Assembly District ***

78th Assembly District

80th Assembly District

Uncontested races

  • U.S. House of Representatives, Wisconsin 2nd District: Marc Pocan (I)
  • Dane County District Attorney: Ismael Ozanne (I)
  • Dane County Clerk: Scott McDonell (I)
  • Dane County Treasurer: Adam Gallagher (I)
  • Dane County Register of Deeds: Kristi Chlebowski (I)

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I vote? What’s going to be on my specific ballot?

You can find the answer to all of these questions at My Vote WI. Simply input your legal name and current address and the system will tell you if you’re registered to vote at your current address and where your voting location will be set up on election day. If the next election is within ~20 days you can even view a sample ballot, allowing you to prepare for election day.

What is it like to drop off my mail-in ballot?

I biked up to the downtown library branch, there was a table outside with a big sign on the corner and two poll workers with yellow vests, masks, and one had a face shield too. I gave them my WI driver’s license, which I used to register to vote back in February, and they gave me an envelope with sections to fill out my address, date of birth, and to sign, along with a pen that had been wiped with an alcohol wipe. Then, they gave me my ballot, I filled out the section for the Democratic primary (the Republicans have a candidate in like 2 races, uncontested, and the Constitutionals aren’t running anyone), then folded my ballot in half twice, and sealed it into the envelope I had signed. It’s just like filling it out at home, and those poll workers act as your witness. The clerk will hold onto that until election day, when it’ll be opened and counted at my Ward’s polling place, Union South, after polls close. While I was there, a woman came up with a ballot she’d received in the mail- she didn’t need to show ID, since she did that when she requested it, and the poll workers witnessed as she filled it out, and accepted her ballot. They’ll only be accepting ballots that you received in the mail.”

What’s the deal with Wisconsin’s Voter ID law?

The 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 is a strict voter photo identification law that requires all voters to present a photo ID every time they vote. “Proof of identity” is not the same as the “proof of residence” required  when you initially register to vote. While what does and does not qualify as a valid photo ID can seem arbitrary and confusing to a first-time voter, there are resources that can help: the City Clerk’s Office offers a list of valid photo IDs that will get you your ballot!

Can I use my passport as voter ID?

Yes! Regardless of the address listed. 

My Wiscard has my name and photo on it. Does it count as a valid photo voter ID?

No. The Wiscard does not meet a number of requirements defined under state statute. However, the university does provide a free voter ID card to any student with a Wiscard. Simply stop by the Wiscard Office in Union South, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. This is among the easiest voter IDs to obtain for those grads lacking a Wisconsin-issued ID or a current passport.

Does my State of Illinois drivers license qualify as a valid photo voter ID?

Unfortunately not. Only licenses and state IDs issued by the State of Wisconsin are considered valid under state statute.

When and where can I register?

“Mail-in” registration closes 20 days before an election to ensure the City Clerk’s Office has enough time to get every registered resident on the books. But don’t worry if you miss this deadline! The State of Wisconsin allows Same Day Registration, meaning any eligible voter can register at your polling place the day of an election. Simply bring valid proof of residence to your polling place and trained election officials will make sure to get you onto the books. The City Clerk’s Office provides an exhaustive list of valid proofs of residence on their website.

If you’d prefer to register ahead of time, then at least 20 days in advance of the next election you can register online at My Vote WI. You can also seek out assistance from a trained City of Madison registration ambassador. Many TAA stewards and members of the Political Education Committee have received this training!

Do I need to re-register every time I move, even if it’s only to a new unit down the hall in the same apartment building?


What is the TAA endorsement process?

The TAA has a rich history of endorsing candidates in local elections as well as referenda. Early during the election period, members of PEC will reach out to candidates of interest in order to learn where they stand on the issues relevant to both graduate workers and our community. The responses received are used by the committee to make informed recommendations to the general membership for formal endorsement by the union as a whole. Members can also motion to endorse candidates from the floor of General Membership Meetings.  Once they’ve received a TAA endorsement, candidates enjoy publicity and a push by PEC to get out the vote.

Voting Resources in Madison

Register to Vote: You can find information about registering to vote at the Wisconsin Elections Commission MyVote site.

Early Voting Locations Throughout Madison: The City of Madison maintains early voting locations throughout the community, including public libraries. Please refer to the City of Madison website for more information on locations and hours.

Past Voter’s Guides

An archive of past endorsements is provided below. Please be aware that these pages are no longer being maintained, and that external links may lead to moved or deleted websites.