Top 10 Voter ID Questions

Story Date: 
Feb 15, 2018

1.    Voter ID is in effect in Wisconsin. Most voters need a photo ID to vote in person on Election Day, to vote early in person at the clerk’s office, and to vote absentee by mail. (Voter ID is not the same as voter registration – if you have voter registration questions see the information here:

2.    Most voters need one of the following kinds of photo ID to vote. If you have any of these, you have what you need (there is no special “voter ID card.”)

  • Wisconsin drivers' license (current or expired since 11/8/16) (You cannot use an out-of-state license.)
  • Wisconsin photo ID card (from DMV) (current or expired since 11/8/16)
  • U.S. Passport (current or expired since 11/8/16)
  • Uniformed services (military) ID (current or expired since 11/8/16, or “indefinite” with no expiration date)
  • Veteran’s Administration ID (VA ID) (unexpired or with no expiration date)
  • Photo ID from federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin
  • Naturalization certificate from the two years before an election
  • Student ID from a Wisconsin college or university IF the ID has name, photo, signature, issuance date, & expiration date no more than 2 years from issuance date, PLUS proof of enrollment. (Here’s info on which colleges have ID you can use to vote: )
  • Receipt from DMV from applying for license or ID card within 45 days.

3.    Some voters do NOT need ID to vote:

  • Permanent overseas and military voters;
  • Voters who are elderly or disabled and consider themselves “indefinitely confined” to home can vote absentee by mail without photo ID. (These voters are often called “permanent absentees.”) (Mark item 6 as “indefinitely confined” on the absentee ballot application form: )
  • Voters in nursing homes or other care facilities who vote with “special voting deputies.”

4.    Your photo ID does NOT have to have your current address to be valid for voting! If you move, you DON’T have to get an ID with your new address. (If you need to register to vote you need a document with your current address, which can be – but does not have to be – your license or ID card.)

5.    Your photo ID does NOT have to have the exact name you use to vote. Nicknames are OK! (Elections officials have said that  “Richards who go by Rich, Bobs who are also Roberts and Susans with IDs for Sue can all relax.”)

6.    Your photo ID just has to “reasonably resemble” you. (Elections officials have said that “Even if you’ve colored your hair, shaved your beard or lost some weight, as long as your photo ID reasonably resembles you, it should be accepted.”)
7.    If you do NOT have valid photo ID, you can apply for an ID for free at any Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.

8.    If you have never had a Wisconsin drivers’ license or state ID card, or haven’t had one in the last 8 years, you should bring:

9.    If you’ve had a Wisconsin license or state ID card in the last 8 years, and it’s been lost, stolen, or expired, you should be able to get a new Wisconsin photo ID card for free  with:

  • Proof of identity  (and if you don’t have any of the proof of identity papers, you can ask DMV to look up a copy of your photo in their computer system instead); and
  • Proof of residence

10. If you’ve changed your name (for example, due to marriage, divorce or name change) you also need to change the name on your ID). 

If you have other questions about voter ID, “like” Wisconsin Election Protection on Facebook or follow @EPWisco on Twitter & message or post there.

If you do not have access to Facebook or Twitter, you can email questions or concerns to and we’ll respond as soon as we can.

If you need help registering or getting an ID, call 608-285-2141 for help from trained volunteers. 
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