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Politics & Government

Wisconsin 2020 Election: Key Deadlines For Voter Registration, Voting Absentee And In Person

Voting can seem complicated and feel like jumping through countless hoops, but this guide to voting in Wisconsin will help make casting your vote easier this election.

Updated Oct. 21 at 10:16 a.m. CT

What's the deadline to request an absentee ballot? How do you get a mail-in ballot in Wisconsin? WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR put together a Wisconsin voter's guide to help you make sure your vote counts in the 2020 presidential election.

Here are some important deadlines and information on how to register to vote, vote by mail, and cast your ballot in person in Wisconsin:

Registering To Vote

In Wisconsin, you can register to vote online or by mail until Oct. 14. After that, you must register to vote in person at your polling place or registration locations created by the municipality. 

In Milwaukee, you can register in person at any Milwaukee Public Library location or the Election Commission Office in City Hall

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You must provide documentation of your current residence from the approved list of documents no matter how you register. 

Important dates for registering to vote in Wisconsin:

  • Oct. 14: Your last chance to register by mail or online. Visit to register or find your municipal clerk’s address. 
  • Oct. 15-Oct. 30: You can register to vote in your municipal clerk’s office. 
  • Oct. 20-Nov. 1: You can register to vote at an early voting location run by your municipal clerk. Contact your clerk to find the hours and location of early voting in your precinct.  
  • Nov. 3: Election Day. You can register at your polling place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Voting By Mail

You must be registered to vote to order an absentee ballot by mail. Once registered, you can request your ballot online or by mail. To request a ballot by mail, you must provide a copy of a photo ID either digitally or by mail. 

Request your ballot as early as possible. The U.S. Postal Service says to mail it at least a week before the election. You can also return your absentee ballot to designated drop boxes announced by your local election clerk. Just be sure to follow the instructions provided with your ballot or your ballot may not be accepted.

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Important dates for voting by mail in Wisconsin:

  • Oct. 27: Recommended last day to mail in an absentee ballot to ensure it arrives on time. After this day, you should return your ballot to your municipal clerk’s office or a secure drop box if one is provided by your clerk. For example, Milwaukee has 15 secure drop boxes
  • Oct. 29: Last day to request an absentee ballot. But waiting until this day doesn't guarantee an absentee ballot will arrive with enough time to return it by Election Day. 
  • Nov. 3: Election Day. If you live in one of these municipalities, including Milwaukee, you can't return your ballot to an in-person polling place. Instead, you must bring your ballot to your municipal clerk's office or a drop box by 7:30 p.m. If you do not live in one of those municipalities, you can return your ballot to your polling place on Election Day. 


Voting In Person

Wisconsin polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. You must bring a valid photo ID to vote. 

Early in-person absentee voting will also be available in many locations beginning on Oct. 20 and lasting until Nov. 1. Just like Election Day voting, you can register to vote at an early in-person voting location and still need to provide a document proving your residence and a photo ID

Important dates for voting in person in Wisconsin:

  • Oct. 20: First day of in-person early voting. Visit to find an early in-person voting site near you.  
  • Nov. 1: Final day of in-person early voting. Not all early voting sites will stay open through Nov. 1, so check your local sites for times and dates. 
  • Nov. 3: Election Day. Just like any other election, you can cast your ballot at your polling place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Make sure to bring a valid photo ID. 

Editor's Note: The deadline for putting your absentee ballot into a drop box changed from 8 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., after an Oct. 20 Wisconsin Elections Commission memo stating that all ballots must be in a polling place or election office when the polls close at 8 p.m.

What questions do you have about voting in Wisconsin? Submit your questions below.


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