Vote on August 14. This is a very important election. Early voting begins two weeks before. Check with your local municipal office for times.

The next election in Wisconsin is the Fall Primary Election on August 14, 2018. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Voters must be registered to vote (see VOTER REGISTRATION, below). You may register to vote at your polling place on Election Day. You must be 18 years or older.

Voters who move within 10 days before the election must vote at the poll from their previous address (in person or by requesting an absentee ballot).

Voters must present a voter photo ID. Be sure you have an eligible ID! You can get a free voter ID from Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Voters who do not present acceptable voter photo ID may ask to cast a provisional ballot. The ballot will be counted only if the voter presents the required ID to the municipal clerk by 4 p.m. on the Friday after the election.

Voters must sign or make their mark on the poll book to obtain a ballot before voting. Voters who are unable to sign the poll book because of a disability are exempt from this requirement.

On the ballot, voters using a traditional ballot must fill in ovals next to their chosen candidates. Voters using the ExpressVote machine make their choices on-screen and print their ballot. When finished, voters feed their traditional or ExpressVote ballot into the machine slot. Wait for the machine screen to display, “Thank you for voting.”


In the August Primary, each political party narrows down its candidates for the November ballot. For this election, you may vote for candidates in only one political party of your choice.

Your voter registration is not associated with a political party. No one knows which party you choose. You vote on a secret ballot.

To mark your ballot:

  • Select one party in the party preference section at the top of your ballot.
  • Find that party’s section on the ballot.
  • Select the individual candidates of your choice within that party.
  • Voting in more than one political party will invalidate your entire ballot. If you vote in more than one political party, nothing on your ballot will count.
  • Make sure you vote in only one political party. If you vote within only one political party, your votes will count. You may only vote for one candidate per office.

If you do mark a party preference on your ballot

Make sure you select individual candidates, too. If you do not vote for any candidates, no votes on your ballot will count. Marking a party preference does not tally any votes. It just tells the tabulator where to count votes on your ballot.

Only the votes in your party of preference will count. If you mistakenly vote for candidates in other parties, the tabulator will ignore those other parties but your ballot will not be completely invalidated.


You may vote by in-person absentee ballot before the election. Each municipal clerk determines when and where they will allow this “early voting.” Some have extended hours for voting. Some have voting at additional sites besides the clerk’s office.

[Weekend early voting was eliminated in 2013 by Act 146 but is permitted by a court ruling. This ruling is being appealed.)


Request a mailed absentee ballot from your city, town, or village clerk in writing by mail, fax, or e-mail. The request must be made no later than 5 p.m. on the Thursday before the election (August 9, 2018, for the fall primary election) in order for an absentee ballot to be sent to you. Your request must include:

Your name.

The address where you are registered to vote.

The address where the ballot should be sent.

Your signature.

A photocopy of an acceptable voter photo ID (see VOTER PHOTO ID).

Voters with a Wisconsin driver license or ID card may request an absentee ballot online at

Absentee ballots are mailed 3 weeks before local (spring) elections and 47 days before national (fall) elections.d.]

Elderly or disabled voters may request a permanent absentee ballot without providing a voter photo ID. Those who have requested to be on the permanent absentee ballot list may be dropped from the absentee ballot rolls if they do not vote in each election. City of Madison residents may request a permanent absentee ballot using this form; residents of other municipalities should use this form.

Here is what you do when you receive the absentee ballot:

Complete it.

Sign the certificate envelope in the presence of a witness.

Have a witness sign the envelope and write their address.

Seal the envelope.

Mail the completed ballot. It must arrive at the clerk’s office by Election Day.

If you fail to follow the directions about signature and witness or if the ballot is not delivered by Election Day, the ballot is not valid and cannot be counted.

By League of Women Voters Dane County