Wisconsin mail-in voting: What to know

As the United States draws nearer to a presidential election in the midst of a deadly pandemic, many states are accommodating voters to minimize in-person contact at the polls, including Wisconsin.

The state is heavily encouraging voters to participate in November’s election via absentee ballot. All registered voters are permitted to request an absentee ballot and vote by mail without providing a reason for needing to do so.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ABSENTEE VOTING AND UNIVERSAL VOTE-BY-MAIL?

On September 1 the Wisconsin Elections Commission sent mailers that included ballot request forms to roughly 2.6 million registered voters who had not already submitted requests. Voters can also request a ballot online or download a form and mail it to a local municipal clerk’s office along with a copy of a photo ID.The office must receive it by 5 p.m. the Thursday before Election Day.

According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, certain voters who are “indefinitely confined” may choose to have ballots automatically sent to them for every election.

Absentee ballots must be received no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 3. A lawsuit from Democrats pushed to have the deadline extended by six days so long as the ballots are postmarked by Election Day. A federal District Court judge granted the extension, but on October 8 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals put a stay on that order, keeping the Election Day deadline in place.

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Democrats may still appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.