How to vote in Wisconsin's 2023 spring general election
What options are there when it comes to registering to vote? What's the deadline to request an absentee ballot? WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR put together a Wisconsin voter's guide to help people vote in the 2023 spring general election on Tuesday, April 4.
Here are some important deadlines and information on how to register to vote, vote absentee and cast a ballot in person in Wisconsin:
Registering to vote
In Wisconsin, people can register to vote online or by mail until Wednesday, March 15. After March 15, registering to vote must take place in person at registration locations or at the person's voting site on Election Day.
All voters must provide a proof of residence document when registering to vote by mail, in-person in the clerk’s office or at the polls on Election Day.
To register to vote online, a person's address and name must be current with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Addresses can be updated for free on the DMV’s website. Name changes cannot be completed online — that must be done in person at a DMV.
The next step is go to the MyVote Wisconsin website to complete the registration process.
To register to vote by mail, a Voter Registration Application (Milwaukee's application is here) along with proof of residence must be sent to the municipal clerk. It must be postmarked no later than March 15.
In the city of Milwaukee, people can register to vote in person at a Milwaukee Public Library branch up to three weeks before Election Day. During early voting, people can register at any early voting location. Voter registration, including address changes, ends on Friday, March 31 at all early voting locations. Or people can register at their voting site on Election Day.
Important dates for registering to vote in Wisconsin:
- March 15: Last chance to register by mail or online. Visit myvote.wi.gov to register or find a person's municipal clerk’s address.
- March 31: Last chance to register to vote in municipal clerk’s office.
- March 21 - March 31: Register to vote at an early voting location (Milwaukee location's here.)
- April 4: Election Day. Register to vote at the polling place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A person must be registered to vote to request an absentee ballot by mail. Once registered, a person can request their ballot online or by mail.
In the City of Milwaukee, here's how to request an absentee ballot by mail: Provide a copy of a photo ID either digitally or by mail and return the Application for Absentee Ballot to the Milwaukee Election Commission, 200 E. Wells Street, Room 501, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Request a ballot as early as possible. The U.S. Postal Service recommends mailing the ballot at least a week before the election.
In Milwaukee, absentee ballots can be returned at early voting locations during early voting.
Voters must personally drop off their ballot if not returning via U.S. Postal Service, unless they require assistance due to a disability. A Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling barred use of absentee ballot drop boxes, unless placed in election offices.
Important dates for absentee voting in Wisconsin:
- March 28: Recommended last day to mail in an absentee ballot to ensure it arrives on time.
- March 30: Last day to request an absentee ballot. Applications for absentee ballots must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Waiting until this day doesn't guarantee an absentee ballot will arrive with enough time to return it by Election Day.
- April 4: Election Day. Ballot must be received by municipal clerk no later than 8:00 p.m.
Voting in person
Important dates for voting in person in Wisconsin:
- March 21: First day of in-person early voting.
- April 1: Final day of in-person early voting. Check local sites for times and dates.
- April 4: Election Day. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Make sure to bring a valid photo ID.
Additional resources & information
Souls to the Polls provides free rides to Milwaukee votersduring early voting and on Election Day.
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin has information for voters in Hmong and Spanish.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission offers a resource guide for unhoused voters.
What questions do you have about voting in Wisconsin? Submit your questions below.
Thanks to Jack Hurbanis, former WUWM digital producer, for creating the 2020 version of this story.