How to vote early in-person in Madison without leaving your car

MADISON, Wis. — Early in-person voting begins Tuesday in Wisconsin.

In Madison, voters will have multiple locations where they can vote early, including the city clerk’s office downtown, several libraries, and a number of spots on the campuses of UW-Madison, Madison College and Edgewood College.

People voting early will need to provide a valid ID to prove their identity before receiving an absentee ballot. State law says the following forms of ID can be accepted:

  • Wisconsin driver’s license (as long as it has an expiration date after 11/6/2018, the date of the last November election)
  • Wisconsin photo ID issued by the DOT (as long as it has an expiration date after 11/6/2018)
  • U.S. passport (as long as it has an expiration date after 11/6/2018)
  • Military ID card (as long as it has an expiration date after 11/6/2018)
  • Certificate of Naturalization issued within the last two years
  • Unexpired Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID card receipt
  • ID card issued by federall recognized Native tribe in Wisconsin
  • ID issued by accredited Wisconsin university or college that contains date issued, student signature, and expiration date within two years of being issued. Student ID cards must be accompanied by proof of current enrollment.
  • Unexpired Veterans Affairs ID card

Out-of-state driver’s licenses, ID cards, faculty ID cards and high school ID cards will not be accepted.

A reminder — the address on your ID card does not matter for the purposes of proving your identity, meaning you don’t need to have your most recent address on your drivers license or ID card. The name is what poll workers will check, and that has to conform with the name in the poll book.

If you need a photo ID for the election, you can still apply for a free one. The Dane County Voter ID Coalition is able to help, including setting up a free cab ride to the DMV. For more information you can call (608) 285-2141.

Once you have an ID, both walk-up and drive-up voting will be available for voters in Madison.

Here’s how you can vote without leaving your car:

  • Drive up to the site. If you have your own ballpoint pen to use, wave it in the window as the absentee clerk approaches your window. If you don’t have a pen, they can provide a sanitized one for you.
  • The absentee clerk will give you an absentee envelope to fill out on a disinfected clipboard.
  • Hold up your ID in the window so the absentee clerk can check it.
  • Once your ID is approved, mark your ballot and seal it inside the absentee envelope.
  • Sign the envelope with the absentee clerk as your witness. They will also sign the envelope to verify they witnessed you marking the ballot.
  • Your absentee ballot will be taken to the Clerk’s Office in a courier bag with a tamper-evident seal at the end of that absentee clerk’s shift. That includes a unique serial number on the seal, which is documented on a chain-of-custody form. The number of absentee envelopes sealed inside the courier bag is also noted on the chain-of-custody form.
  • The Clerk’s Office will then verify the serial number on your absentee envelope’s seal, and the number of ballots inside the courier bag.
  • Your absentee ballot will remain sealed and secure in the Clerk’s Office until Election Day, when it is delivered to your polling place to be processed and fed into the tabulator to be counted.

Under current state law, absentee ballots cannot be opened or counted until polls open at 7 a.m. on Election Day.

The early in-person absentee voting period varies by city, but people in Madison can vote that way through November 1st — however, voters on October 31st and November 1st must already be registered. People can register in-person before voting early through October 30th. Voters can also register in-person at the polls on Election Day.