Wisconsin Resources for Voters with Disabilities

What are my rights as a voter with a disability in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, you have the right to the following as protected by federal law. Election staff must respect these rights:

  • Accessible voter registration
  • Accessible polling places
  • Policies and procedures that do not discriminate against you based on your disability
  • Accessible, available, and operational voting systems, features
  • Your service animal to accompany you inside the polling place
  • The right to vote privately and independently or with assistance, if needed
  • Assistance from a person of choice, who can be a friend, family member, or poll worker (but not your boss, union agent, or a candidate unless this person is your family member)
  • Election Staff trained to understand the rights above.

In Wisconsin, you also have the right to:  

  • Independently mark and cast your ballot without interference, coercion, or intimidation. 
  • Vote in privacy and cast a secret ballot.
  • Receive assistance when voting.
  • Review a sample ballot before voting. 
  • If you live in a nursing home or group home, you have the right to ask the staff to help you complete your ballot.
  • In Wisconsin, if you have a guardian, you still have the right to vote unless the court has expressly removed it.
    • If you are under guardianship and unsure of your right to vote, you can check your court form called “A Determination and Order on Petition for Guardianship Due to Incompetency” (GN-3170). There will be a box checked if your voting rights have been removed. You can request the form/information from Probate Court or from your Municipal Clerk.
    • If you are under guardianship and have lost your right to vote, you can appeal to the court to restore your right to vote. Contact the DRW Voter Hotline—1-844- DIS-VOTE (844-347-8683)/info@disabilityvote.org—for details.
       
  • Vote by absentee ballot if you have a disability that prevents you from voting in person on Election Day. You may also receive assistance in returning your ballot if you have a disability.
  • File a complaint about voting accessibility or other violation.

 This video from the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition explains your rights as a voter.

Who can register to vote?

To register in Wisconsin, you must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 17 and will be turning 18 on or before Election Day 
  • A resident of the city or county for at least 28 days

If you are a student, unhoused, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you may still register and vote

In Wisconsin, you may not register or vote if you:

What are the different ways to vote in Wisconsin?
  • In-person on Election Day
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  • Provisional ballot at a polling place
  • You can vote absentee in-person (including by curbside) or by mail.
    • If you are overseas or in the military, you can request that your ballot be sent by email or fax.
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Wisconsin?

All registered voters can request absentee ballots in Wisconsin. You can drop off your request in an official voting drop box or mail your request to your local election office. Include a photocopy of your identification with your application. You are allowed to have assistance returning your ballot if you have a disability.

Voters with disabilities may also sign up to get absentee ballots by mail for each election for the duration of their disability. You may select that option in section six of the application. Voters who are “indefinitely confined” are exempt from ID requirements.

How is the Wisconsin mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities and other disabilities?

If you have a print disability, you can request for an accessible absentee ballot to be emailed to you when filling out your absentee ballot application.

You may receive assistance with your absentee ballot by the person of your choice with some limitations. There are no limitations if you are hospitalized. The person who helps you must sign the absentee certificate envelope. This person can also serve as your witness as all voters must have a witness when voting by absentee ballot. 

You may be able to vote with a braille ballot by contacting your municipal clerk.

What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in Wisconsin?

Federal law requires polling places to meet minimum compliance standards for individuals with special needs. 

If you are unable to sign the polling list that requirement will be waived.
An accessible voting booth will be available at every polling location. It will have space for those in wheelchairs to use the booth and an audio version of the ballot so that individuals with print disabilities can more easily vote.

You can request reasonable accommodations by talking with the chief inspector at your polling place or the municipal clerk.

What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Wisconsin?
  • You may request assistance from a poll worker or receive assistance from a person of your choice except
    • your employer, an agent of your employer
    • an officer or agent of your union
       
  • Your helper must sign your ballot and their name and address will be recorded by the poll worker.
  • If your helper has power of attorney or is a guardian, this helper still must mark your ballot as you direct.
  • Curbside voting is available for voters who cannot enter the polling place. 
    • If you vote curbside, two poll workers will help you vote from your car. 
    • You will still need to bring an ID.
    • If you are not registered, you will need to bring proof of residency.
    • You will not need to sign the poll list.
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Wisconsin prior to Election Day?

You should be able to access a sample ballot as well as preview and practice using accessible voting equipment. You can review Wisconsin’s manuals before you vote and contact your local election official for help.. 

You can look at these tutorials to figure out how to use different accessible voting machines such as AutoMARK, AVC Edge, and ExpressVote.

You can also contact your municipal clerk with your questions about accessible voting equipment.

Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in Wisconsin?

You can fill-out and submit a Complaint Form to the Wisconsin State Elections Enforcement Commission. 

  • If you file an informal complaint, Wisconsin election officials will evaluate your concerns, and they will reach out to you to try to eliminate the barriers you are facing.
     
  • If you file a formal complaint, the form must be notarized.
    • You can get your form notarized for free by a Wisconsin Election Commission notary.
    • You will need to bring your Photo ID to that meeting
    • You must cite the law on the form which you believe has been broken. If you are submitting a complaint about accessibility that law is the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) (§5.061).

 
You have several options to submit the form:

  • Mail the complaint to:
         Wisconsin Elections Commission
         P.O. Box 7984
         Madison, WI 53707
     
  • Fax the complaint to (608) 267-0500
  • Email the complaint to elections@wi.gov.
  • You can also contact the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline at 1-844- DIS-VOTE (844-347-8683) or at info@disabilityvote.org. They can help you with your problem and with submitting a complaint.

 
You can alternatively fill out a Violation of Civil Rights Complaint Form and submit it to the US Department of Justice by one of the following methods:

  • Online, through the form’s submission process - this is the fastest method.
     
  • By fax at (202) 616-9881. You MUST include “ATTN: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints" at the top of your fax submission for it to be processed correctly.
     
  • By mailing your form to: 
         U.S. Department of Justice
         Office of the Inspector General
         Investigations Division
         ATTN: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
         950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
         Washington, DC 20530
Additional Resources

For additional assistance, The National Network of ADA Centers can provide local contact information for other organizations you may wish to contact, including your Regional ADA Center or ADA Knowledge Translation Center, or Federal Agencies and Resources.