Common Election Misconceptions
The City of Madison Clerk’s Office would like voters to be aware of common misconceptions about the voting process.
Myth: Your voter ID needs to show your current address.
Fact: The address on your Voter ID does not matter. When checking voter ID, poll workers are only verifying your identity. They are not checking the address on your ID.
Myth: Your voter ID cannot be expired.
Fact: Wisconsin offers a grace period for the expiration date on four (4) types of voter ID. A Wisconsin driver license, Wisconsin ID card issued by the DOT, U.S. passport, or military ID can be expired as long as the expiration date is later than the date of the last November election (Nov. 6, 2018).
Myth: A driver license or ID from another state can be used as voter ID.
Fact: Wisconsin’s voter ID law does not recognize identification issued by other states.
Myth: Once a person has been convicted of a felony, they permanently lose their right to vote.
Fact: Someone convicted of a felony may vote once they’ve served their sentence and are Off Paper. Wisconsin restores civil rights – including voting rights – to felons when they complete all the terms of their sentence, including probation, parole, and/or extended supervision. They will just need to re-register to vote with proof of address.
Myth: Individuals who are homeless cannot register to vote.
Fact: You do not need a traditional street address for voter registration. Someone who is homeless would use the diagram on the voter registration form to indicate where they intend to return each day. For proof of address, they may use a letter from a social service agency that provides services to the homeless.
Myth: Absentees are only counted if an election is close.
Fact: Absentee ballots are counted at the polls on Election Day. Poll workers check three (3) absentee envelopes at a time into the poll book and then feed the ballots into the tabulator to be counted.
Myth: I registered to vote when I was at the DMV.
Fact: Wisconsin does not offer voter registration at the DMV. Voters who have a Wisconsin driver license or Wisconsin ID, though, are able to register to vote online at myvote.wi.gov.
Myth: My voter registration was automatically updated when I changed my address with the Post Office.
Fact: The Post Office cannot update your voter registration. Voters may update their registration at the City Clerk’s Office in the City-County Building with proof of address.
Myth: I can use my insurance policy to prove my address when I register to vote.
Fact: Wisconsin does not accept insurance documents as proof of residence. Voters may use a government document (federal, state, county, municipal, tribal, UW, Madison College, or public school), utility bill from the last 90 days (water, gas, electric, phone, cable, or internet), unexpired Wisconsin license/ID, or bank statement (bank, credit union, credit card, or mortgage) as proof of address. The document needs to show the same name and address as that listed on the voter registration form.
Myth: Absentee requests can be made over the phone.
Fact: We need a paper trail for each absentee request. Absentees can be requested by using a form, sending an e-mail message to email@example.com, sending a note to the Clerk’s Office, or submitting a request at myvote.wi.gov. Your request should include your name, the address where you are registered, and the address to which your ballot should be sent. You will need to provide the Clerk’s Office with a copy of your voter ID if you haven’t already done so.
- Maribeth Witzel-Behl, (608) 266-4601, firstname.lastname@example.org