City of Madison

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Regularly Scheduled Elections

Spring Primary

Primary held on the third Tuesday in February to nominate non-partisan candidates to be voted for at the Spring Election.  State Statute 5.02(22)

Spring Election

Election held on the first Tuesday in April to elect judicial, educational, and municipal officers, and non-partisan county officers, and to express preferences for the person to be the presidential candidate for each party in presidential election years. 

State Statute 5.02(21)

Fall Primary

Primary held in even-numbered years on the second Tuesday in August, to nominate candidates to be voted for at the General Election, and to determine which candidates for state offices other than district attorney may participate in the Wisconsin election campaign fund.  State Statute 5.02(18)

General Election

Election held in even-numbered years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November to elect United States senators, representatives to congress, presidential electors, state senators, representatives to the assembly, district attorneys, state officers other than the state superintendent and judicial officers, and county officers other than supervisors and county executives.  State Statute 5.02(5)

Voter Eligibility

To be eligible to vote, you must be:

  • United States citizen
  • Age 18 or older by Election Day
  • Resident for at least 10 consecutive days before an election
  • If convicted of a felony, completed sentence including probation/parole

Voter Registration

Up to 20 days before an election you may register to vote at any City of Madison library or city agency with proof of address.

Within 20 days of an election, you may register in the City Clerk’s Office with proof of address.  There is no registration the Saturday, Sunday, or Monday before the election. 

On Election Day you can register to vote at your polling place with proof of address.

Proof of Address

When registering, you need to present one of the following documents—either in paper or electronic format—showing  your current name at your address:

  • WI driver license or WI state ID card (current and valid)
  • Utility bill from last 90 days (water, gas, electric, cable, internet, landline, or cellular phone)
  • Bank/credit union statement
  • Property tax bill or receipt
  • Government document/check
  • Paycheck
  • Residential Lease (a lease cannot be used when registering by mail)
  • Affidavit on letterhead from a public or private social service agency that is providing services to a homeless voter
  • College fee statement from last 9 months, with Student ID

Voting Absentee

Absentee ballots are kept sealed and secure in the Clerk’s Office vault until counted at the polls on Election Day.

Check the City Calendar for absentee voting hours and locations.

Voting Absentee by Mail

To receive an absentee ballot by mail, submit a photocopy of your ID, along with a written request containing:

  • Your name
  • Address where registered to vote
  • Address where ballot should be sent
  • Your signature

You must be registered to vote in order to receive an absentee ballot.

It is a felony to vote at the polls if you have returned an absentee ballot to the Clerk’s Office.

Make Your Absentee Vote Count!

  • Sign the certificate envelope.
  • Have a witness sign the envelope.
  • Have your witness write his or her address underneath the witness signature.
  • Mail your ballot back to the Clerk's Office as soon as possible. The  City Clerk's Office needs to deliver your ballot to your polling place on Election Day in order for it to be counted.

My Vote WI

Visit to:

  • Verify your voter registration
  • Print and mail a voter registration form
  • Look up your polling location
  • View your sample ballot
  • Check your absentee ballot status
  • Look up your elected officials

View your voting history (please note that voting history is manually updated after each election, and this process takes several weeks to complete).

Hospitalized Voters

You may vote absentee if you are hospitalized on Election Day.  Submit a written request for an absentee ballot indicating that you are hospitalized and specifying the following:

  • Your name and residential address
  • Name and address of person you are appointing as your agent (often a family member or friend)
  • Your signature
  • Your agent’s signature

Your agent brings your request and your ID to the Clerk’s Office and brings you a ballot.  Mark your ballot, seal it in an absentee envelope, sign the envelope, and have a witness sign the envelope.  Your agent returns the ballot to the Clerk’s Office.

The Clerk’s Office may begin issuing absentee ballots to hospitalized voters seven days before an election.


Election Day

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.  Everyone in line at 8 p.m. gets to vote.

If you move within 10 days of an election you will need to vote from your previous address, at your old polling place.

Although all polling places are accessible, you may vote at the curb if you have mobility issues or difficulty waiting in line.

Voters must show ID and sign or make their mark on the poll book.  Voters unable to sign due to a disability are exempt from this requirement.

To vote, fill in the oval to the left of the name of the candidate of your choice.

Insert your ballot in the tabulator.  Election equipment is tested before each election to ensure that it will correctly count your vote.
Register Early