Are there exceptions to the new law?

Most Wisconsin voters now need to show an acceptable photo ID to vote. It’s the new law. But for some absentee voters, and those with a sincere religious belief against being photographed, there are exceptions to the law that may mean you don’t need a photo ID.

The rules for absentee voters are pretty simple:

  • If you’re in the military, live permanently overseas or are classified as a confidential elector, you don’t need a photo ID to cast your absentee ballot.
  • There are also accommodations in the law for absentee voters who cannot make it to a polling place because they are indefinitely confined, or live in a nursing home or care facility. These voters do not need to show their photo ID, but other rules do apply.
Who are indefinitely confined voters?

“Indefinitely confined” voters are persons who, because of age, physical illness, infirmity or disability, may have difficulty traveling to the polling place.

An indefinitely confined voter can reside in:

  • Their own home
  • Apartment
  • Nursing Home
  • Other Care Facility

When applying for an absentee ballot, the voter must indicate they are indefinitely confined. Indefinitely confined voters will receive absentee ballots automatically for all elections until they fail to return a ballot.

Do indefinitely confined voters have to provide a photo ID?
  • An indefinitely confined voter does not need to provide a copy of photo ID. Instead, the witness’ signature on the Absentee Ballot Certificate Envelope satisfies the photo ID requirement.

  • A signature is still required from both the witness and the voter.
  • The Absentee Ballot Certificate Envelope is the envelope in which you return your voted ballot to the municipal clerk.
  • If you have photo ID, you may choose to send a copy of it along with your absentee ballot request, but it is not required. If you choose to provide a copy of your photo ID, you won’t have to supply one again unless you change your name or address.

    If you choose to vote absentee in the clerk’s office or at the polling place on Election Day, a photo ID will be required.

    Read more about voting in care facilities.

Religious exceptions

If you wish to obtain an ID for voting purposes, but have spiritual beliefs which prevent you from being photographed, you can receive a State ID card without a photo at any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Please see the brochure in the section below.