VOTER ID: Things YOU Need To Know

The Facts on Voter Identification (ID) Requirement

Beginning with the 2016 Spring Primary, all Wisconsin voters must show an acceptable photo ID before voting.  This includes voters at polling places and many absentee voters.

The following photo IDs are acceptable, even if they are recently expired as long as the ID did not expire before November 4, 2014

  • A Wisconsin Drivers License, even if driving privileges are revoked or suspended

  • A Wisconsin Identification Card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles

  • A Military ID Card issued by a U.S. uniformed service

  • A US Passport

The following IDs are also acceptable, but cannot be expired

  • A Wisconsin Driver License receipt or Wisconsin Identification Card receipt issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (valid for 45 days after it is issued)

  • A certificate of Naturalization that was issued not earlier than two years before the date of the election

  • A photo identification card issued by a Wisconsin accredited university or college that contains (1) date of issuance.  Also, the  university or college ID must be accompanied by a separate document that proves current enrollment, such as a tuition fee receipt, enrollment verification letter or class schedule

  • A citation or notice of intent to revoke or suspend a Wisconsin DOT-issued Driver License that is dated within 60 days of the election.

  • A State of Wisconsin, DOT issued, identification card without a photo, issue to those electors with a religious objection to be photographed

  • An identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin

Absentee Voting and Photo ID

As long as you are registered to vote at your current address, you may request to have an absentee ballot (meaning you will not appear at your polling place) mailed to your home or a mailing address.  Whether or not you will be required to [provide a photo ID in order to receive your absentee ballot depends on whether you are a permanent or temporary absentee voter.

  • If you are a permanent absentee voter, meaning you are indefinitely confined and unable to leave your home due to age, illness, infirmity or disability, you are not required to provide a photo ID when requesting your absentee ballot

  • If you are a temporary absentee voter, meaning you are only requesting a ballot for selected elections and do not qualify to be a permanent absentee voter, you will need to provide a photocopy of an acceptable photo ID (see list above) before your absentee ballot can be mailed.  The copy of your ID  will be kept on file, and you will not need to submit it again when making future request for an absentee ballot.

  • If you vote during the in-person absentee “early” voting period, you must show your photo ID as you would on Election Day.

Voter Registration And Proof of Residence

Completing the voter registration process is necessary for first-time voters, or for anyone who name and/or address have changed.  When registering, you will need to prove you live at your address through a “PROOF OF RESIDENCE” document or ID.  You may use any acceptable photo ID to meet the proof of residence requirement, as long as that ID contains your name and current address.

If your photo ID does not have your address on it, or the address is not current on your ID, you will need an additional Proof Of Residence document that contains your name and current address, which may include any of the following:

  • A current and valid Wisconsin Driver License or a current and valid Wisconsin Identification Card.

  • Any other official identification issued by an employer in the normal course of business and bearing a photo of the card holder, but not including a business card

  • A residential lease that is effective for a period that includes the date of voter registration

  • A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election

  • A utility bill for the period beginning 90 days or less before the date of registration; includes electric, gas, water or sewer bills (name must appear on the bill); cable (including satellite) or internet bills; phone bills (including cellular)

  • A bank statement

  • A paycheck:  Example:  A paycheck when it is an actual check or a record of direct deposit.  A check stub

  • A check or other document/official correspondence issued by a unit of government.

  • Examples: Medicare or Badgercare Plus notices and explanation of benefits (not private health insurance or third party providers);SSI notices; Wisconsin motor vehicle registrations; public high school, state university and technical college documents; Wisconsin Works; Wisconsin Shares; correspondence, notices or other paperwork from any government agency; tax refund checks; public library correspondence or records; court notices and paperwork; police reports.

  • An identification card (must include photo) issued by a university, college, or technical college  ONLY if the voter provides a fee receipt dated within the last nine (9) months.  Example:  A student ID and a copy of tuition receipt from the Bursar’s office.

  • An affidavit for homeless voters,  Example:  A letter from a shelter or other organization providing services to the homeless.  The letter identifies the individual and describes the location designated as the person’s residence for voter purposes.  The identification letter should be on letterhead and signed by a person affiliated with the social services organization.  *Note that electronic versions of theses documents, where available, are also acceptable.

Wisconsin’s Free DMV-Issued Identification (ID) Card

To get a free Wisconsin ID card, you will need to take a few documents to your Division of Motor Vehicles office.

There is a long list of documents you can use, but you will be fine with a certified birth certificate, a social security card and a utility bill or cell phone bill.

Be sure to bring originals---photocopies are not acceptable ---and check the box that says “ID for Free” on your application. Once it’s complete, you’ll get a receipt (valid for 45 days) that you can use at the polls until your state ID arrives by mail.

Thanks to the Director of the Milwaukee Election Commission Neil Albrecht for sharing this information.

Contact Anita Johnson at Citizen Action of Wisconsin with questions


City of Milwaukee Election Commission 


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