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Absentee Ballots

Military and Overseas info can be found here: Military, Overseas and Absentee Ballots

Uniform instructions to be sent with absentee ballots

Issuing Absentee Ballots


Any qualified elector.  A qualified elector is a United States citizen, 18 years of age or older, who has resided in the district in which he or she intends to vote for at least 28 consecutive days.  The elector must be registered in order to receive an absentee ballot.

Note: Military voters are not required to register (submit a GAB-131) in order to vote.


The request is made to the municipal clerk in writing by using the Application for Absentee Ballot (GAB-121), or by letter requesting an absentee ballot which substantially provides the information required on the application form.  Military and Overseas electors may also use the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA), which is a combination registration form and absentee ballot request.  The elector making the request must sign the application.  (If a request is made for more than one person residing at the same address, each person must sign the request.)


  • By mail - the request must be in the office of the municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 5th day preceding an election*.  (This is the last day a clerk can mail an absentee ballot to an elector.)
  • In person at the clerk's office - up to 5:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election.
    • Note: A person cannot request an absentee ballot in person and leave the clerk's office with the ballot. The ballot is either voted in the clerk's office, or the clerk must mail the ballot to the elector.
    • *The deadline for indefinitely confined electors and military electors to request an absentee ballot is the 4th day before the election.
    • *For a September Primary or November General election, the deadline for military electors who are away from their residence due to active duty to request an absentee ballot is 5:00 p.m. on election day.
    • *Special provisions are made for hospitalized electors and sequestered jurors to request and vote by absentee ballot on election day.  §§6.86(1)(b),(3)(a). Wis. Stats.


Ballots must be available for absentee voting by mail by the following dates.  An absentee ballot must be sent by these dates to any voter with an application on file.

  • 47 days before any election for national office;
  • 21 days before each other primary and election.  Wis. Stat. §7.15(1))(cm).
  • When a request for absentee ballot is made by mail, the absentee ballot must be mailed to the elector within one day of the request.

Absentee voting in person in the clerk's office begins the third Monday before the election.  Wis. Stat. §6.86(1)(b).

Voters requesting an absentee ballot in person must cast the ballot in the clerk's office.  Ballots cannot be hand carried out of the clerk's office.


Special provisions are made for issuing absentee ballots to residents of a nursing home, qualifying retirement homes and community-based residential facilities. See our manual Absentee Voting in Certain Care Facilities - 2/2012.


For additional information see Election Administration Manual, the Election Day Manual and Absentee Voting for Military and Overseas Electors.  These manuals are available from the Government Accountability Board website.

issue.ab (9/95) (Rev. 3/2012)




  • Document on an absentee voting log: the date of receipt of the application, the name and address of the person making the request, the date the absentee ballot was sent to the elector, and any other pertinent information.
  • Place absentee voting instructions, an Absentee Certificate envelope, and the absentee ballots inside a mailing envelope addressed to the requesting elector.  The elector returns the voted absentee ballots to the clerk's office in the Absentee Certificate envelope that is postage pre-paid when mailed within the United States.
  • When the voted absentee ballot is received by the clerk, enter the date of receipt on the absentee voting log.

  • Check the Absentee Certificate envelope to be sure that the voter has properly completed and signed the certificate and that it has been properly witnessed.  If not, and time permits, make an effort to contact the elector and make arrangements for correcting the problem, whenever possible.

  • The Absentee Certificate envelope containing the elector's voted ballot should be placed in a carrier envelope and kept in a secure place in the clerk's office until election day.  On election day, the clerk delivers the carrier envelope containing all absentee ballots received to the proper polling place before the polls close at 8:00 p.m.  This also includes any absentee ballots received by the clerk on election day.

  • Any voter may request absentee ballots for all elections in a calendar year.
  • Military voters are entitled to vote for all offices.  Clerks are required to keep a separate list of military voters.  §6.22, Wis. Stats.
  • Overseas voters are United States citizens who have chosen to reside overseas with no present intent to return.  Overseas voters are entitled to vote for federal offices only.  §6.24, Wis. Stats.