Voter Photo ID
(Looking for general voting information? Click here.)
The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) has an informational website about Voter ID called Bring It to the Ballot. This site has definitive information about what ID is required and how to get ID if you do not already have it.
The WEC also has a toll-free voter helpline: 1-866-VOTEWIS or 1-866-868-3947.
The information below HAS BEEN UPDATED to reflect changes ordered by federal courts. The court decisions are currently being appealed.
An acceptable form of Voter Photo ID does NOT need to show the current address. You can update your residence address with the DMV online without needing to get a new physical license.
Acceptable ID includes:
- Wisconsin driver license expiring after November 8, 2016. A suspended or revoked license is still valid as voter ID.
- Wisconsin DOT-issued photo ID card expiring after November 8, 2016
- US passport expiring after November 8, 2016
- US Military ID expiring after November 8, 2016
- Certificate of naturalization issued within the last 2 years
- Unexpired Wisconsin driver license or state ID receipt
- ID card issued by a federally recognized Native American Indian tribe in Wisconsin
- Veterans ID card, unexpired or with no expiration date
- Photo ID issued by a Wisconsin accredited university or college with issuance date, student signature, and expiration date within 2 years of issuance. Expired IDs are valid, per court rulings. Proof of current enrollment is also required.
- UW-Madison students: your Wiscard is NOT a valid ID for voting. You must get a special ID card for voting (free) at Union South and show proof of current enrollment.
- Madison College students: your Madison College ID card is NOT a valid ID for voting. You must get a Student Voter ID card (free) at Student Life and show proof of current enrollment.
Voter Photo ID exemptions:
- Military voters
- Voters who are permanently overseas
- Confidential voters
- Indefinitely confined voters (elderly and disabled voters who are permanent absentee voters)
- Nursing home residents and others who have ballots delivered by Special Voting Deputies
- Residents of Care Facilities who are not visited by Special Voting Deputies
OBTAINING A VOTER ID
If you do not have ID for voting purposes, you can get a free WI ID from the Department of Transportation (DOT). If you do not have the required documents to obtain an ID card, you may petition the DMV to verify your identity with a state or federal agency. File the petition as soon as possible. The DMV will try to complete verification within seven business days, but the process may take longer. When the DMV receives your petition, they will mail you a temporary receipt that can be used for voting. (For petitions received within a few days of the November election, the receipt will be sent by overnight delivery.) See this flyer from the DMV describing what you will get.
You will need to check a box on the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) application to indicate that you need the ID for voting purposes.
Documents needed for Voter Photo ID
You need to present the following types of documentation (list is not exhaustive):
- Proof of name and date of birth, usually a certified birth certificate and certified marriage certificate or judgment of divorce (if name changed)
- Proof of identity, usually a Social Security card
- Proof of Wisconsin residency, usually utility bill, lease, or pay stub
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship
- Social Security number
For the shortest lines, visit the DMV mid-morning or mid-afternoon and try to avoid Mondays, Fridays, and the beginning and end of each month.
ID customers are given priority service at the DMV. Although wait times vary by location and day, the DMV reports that 70% of customers wait in line less than 20 minutes. Everyone who is in the office at closing time will be served.
DMV locations and hours
Madison East DMV service center
2001 Bartillon Drive
8:30 – 4:45 Monday – Fridays
8:30 – noon Saturdays
Madison Metro bus routes 6, 20, and 34 (weekdays); 6 and 30 on Saturday.
Madison West DMV service center
8417 Excelsior Drive
8:30 – 4:45 Monday – Fridays
Madison Metro bus routes 15 (peak hours only) and 73 (requires a 1/3 mile walk).
For more information, call 608.266.2353 or visit http://wisconsindot.gov.
Help Is Available
If you need assistance with the petition process for obtaining a free ID for voting, including a cab ride to the DMV, call the Voter ID hotline: 608.285.2141.
If you are a senior citizen and need a ride to the DMV to obtain a free ID for voting, RSVP volunteers working through your neighborhood senior center will drive you. Learn more here.
If you are disabled and need a ride to the DMV to obtain a free ID for voting, the Dane County Mobility Manager can help. Call 608.242.6489.
Certified Birth Certificates
To obtain an ID card, you need to present a certified birth certificate or passport to the DMV (a fee is required to obtain either one of these documents*).
Born in Dane County
If you were born in Dane County and need to obtain your certified birth certificate to apply for a Wisconsin ID in order to vote, the Dane County Register of Deeds will waive the fee for your birth certificate. You will need to show the Register of Deeds two documents with your name and address, or you will need to bring along a friend or family member who has photo ID and will corroborate for you.
Born in another Wisconsin county
See the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 1 W. Wilson Street, room 158, with a $20 fee and one of the following forms of identification:
- Wisconsin driver license/photo ID or out-of-state license/photo ID
- Two documents with your name and address (government employee ID, United States passport, checkbook/ bankbook, major credit card, health insurance card, recently dated and signed lease, utility bill, traffic ticket)
Other states’ vital record agencies. If you are assisting someone who does not have internet access, the Dane County Voter ID coalition can help. Call their Voter ID hotline: 608.285.2141.
*If you do not have the required documents to obtain an ID card, you may petition the DMV to verify your identity with a state or federal agency. File the petition as soon as possible. The DMV will try to complete verification within seven business days, but the process may take longer. When the DMV receives your petition, they will mail you a temporary receipt that can be used for voting. The DMV will send receipts by overnight mail during the week before and week of the election.