2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
June 8, 2021 - Offered by Senator Stroebel.
SB204-SSA1,1,8 1An Act to repeal 6.87 (4) (b) 3.; to renumber and amend 6.86 (1) (ar); to
6.18 (intro.), 6.30 (5), 6.86 (1) (ac), 6.86 (2m) (a), 6.87 (1), 6.87 (2) (intro.),
36.87 (4) (b) 1., 6.87 (4) (b) 2., 6.87 (4) (b) 5. and 12.60 (1) (a); to repeal and
6.86 (2); and to create 6.86 (1) (as), 6.86 (8), 6.88 (4) and 12.13 (3) (ig)
5of the statutes; relating to: absentee ballot applications, unsolicited mailing
6or transmission of absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots,
7canvassing absentee ballots, electronic voter registration, and providing a
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Absentee ballots
This bill makes a number of changes to the laws relating to absentee ballots in
1. Applications for absentee ballots
Subject to an exception for certain voters at residential care facilities and
qualified retirement homes, current law prohibits a municipal clerk from issuing an

absentee ballot to a voter, including in person at the municipal clerk's office, unless
the voter submits a written application for the absentee ballot. Current law does not
prescribe a specific form of written application for requesting absentee ballots.
The bill requires the Elections Commission to prescribe the form and
instructions of the absentee ballot application. The bill also requires the absentee
ballot application to be separate and distinct from the certificate envelope in which
voters must seal and submit absentee ballots, the outer portion of which includes
certifications of both the voter and a witness. Additionally, the bill requires that the
application require the voter to certify facts establishing that he or she is eligible to
vote in the election and must include at least all of the following information:
a. The voter's municipality and county of residence.
b. The voter's name, date of birth, and contact information, including as
applicable the voter's telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address.
c. The street address of the voter's legal voting residence.
d. The election at which the voter intends to vote absentee.
e. Whether the voter is a military or overseas voter.
f. The voter's confidential identification serial number if the voter has obtained
a confidential listing for purposes of voting.
g. The lawful method by which the voter prefers to receive the absentee ballot.
h. Whether the voter is a hospitalized voter.
The bill provides that any municipal clerk issuing an absentee ballot without
having received a completed application on the form prescribed by the Elections
Commission under the bill that contains the voter's original written signature, a copy
of the voter's original written signature if transmitted by facsimile transmission, or
the voter's electronic signature if submitted in Portable Document Format (PDF) by
e-mail, or the signature of a person authorized by law to sign on the voter's behalf,
is subject to a Class I felony, which is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 or
imprisonment not to exceed three years and six months, or both.
2. Absentee voting by indefinitely confined voters
Current law allows a voter who is indefinitely confined because of age, physical
illness, infirmity, or disability to have, by signing a statement to that effect, an
absentee ballot sent to the voter automatically every election. The voter is not
required to submit a copy of his or her voter identification with the request to receive
absentee ballots automatically, but is required to notify the municipal clerk when the
voter is no longer indefinitely confined.
This bill does all of the following:
a. Provides that a voter may apply for indefinitely confined status by filing a
statement with the municipal clerk affirming that the elector is indefinitely confined
because of his or her age or physical illness or infirmity or is disabled for an indefinite
period. The bill requires the Elections Commission to prescribe the form of
applications and instructions.
b. Provides that a voter having indefinitely confined status may separately
apply to the municipal clerk to have an absentee ballot sent to the voter
automatically for every election that is held within the same calendar year in which
the application is filed. Each application must include a copy of the voter's proof of

identification, except that if a voter does not possess proof of identification, the voter
must submit with his or her application a sworn written statement signed by a U.S.
citizen who is 18 years of age or older affirming the identity of the voter.
c. Specifies that the existence of a public health emergency, disaster, or
epidemic of a communicable disease does not qualify a voter as indefinitely confined.
d. Requires the municipal clerk to remove a voter from the list of indefinitely
confined voters, and stop automatically sending the voter absentee ballots, when the
voter notifies the clerk that he or she is no longer indefinitely confined; when the
voter fails to return an absentee ballot for any election and does not reapply for
indefinitely confined status after receiving notification from the clerk; when the
clerk receives reliable information that the voter is no longer indefinitely confined,
and the clerk verifies that information; when the voter requests to be removed from
the list; or if the voter fails to submit an application for indefinitely confined status
within four years after the date of the elector's most recent application for
indefinitely confined status.
e. Specifies that the penalty for making false statements or providing false
information for the purpose of qualifying as indefinitely confined, or having someone
else qualify as indefinitely confined, is a Class I felony, which is punishable by a fine
not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed three years and six months, or
both. The penalty also applies to intentionally using the sworn statement affirming
the voter's identity to avoid submitting valid proof of identification in the voter's
3. Automatic receipt of absentee ballots
In addition to indefinitely confined voters, as well as military and overseas
voters, current law allows any other voter eligible to vote absentee in Wisconsin to
apply for automatic receipt of absentee ballots for all elections occurring in the voter's
municipality during the year of application.
Under this bill, a voter must submit a separate application for each primary and
the election associated with that primary for which the voter wishes to receive
absentee ballots automatically. The application must specify the primary and
election to which the application applies. The municipal clerk is required to send an
absentee ballot to the voter automatically only with respect to the primary and
election specified in the application, except that if the voter fails to return the
absentee ballot for the primary, the municipal clerk may not send an absentee ballot
automatically to the voter for the election specified in the application.
4. Photo ID requirements for absentee voters
Current law requires most voters applying to vote absentee in an election to
submit proof of identification, such as a driver's license, with their absentee ballot
application. The municipal clerk must verify that the name on the proof of
identification conforms to the name on the voter's absentee ballot application.
However, current law exempts from that proof of identification requirement certain
voters, including voters who received an absentee ballot from the municipal clerk by
mail for a previous election, had provided proof of identification with that ballot, and
had not changed their name or address since providing that proof of identification.

This bill eliminates that exemption from providing proof of identification when
voting absentee.
5. Unsolicited mailing or transmission of absentee ballot applications and
absentee ballots
The bill prohibits any municipal or county clerk or municipal or county board
of election commissioners, and any person acting on behalf of the Elections
Commission, from sending or transmitting an absentee ballot application or an
absentee ballot to a voter for purposes of voting in an election unless the voter applies
for the application or ballot as provided by law.
Additionally, under the bill, no candidate committee, legislative campaign
committee, political action committee, independent expenditure committee, political
party, recall committee, or referendum committee, as those terms are defined by law,
may send or transmit an absentee ballot application to a voter that contains a return
address for the application other than the address of the municipal clerk or board of
election commissioners of the municipality where the voter is registered to vote.
6. Notices concerning the canvass of absentee ballots
Under the bill, at 9 p.m. on election day, and at least hourly thereafter while
absentee ballots are being canvassed, the municipal clerk must post, at his or her
office and on the Internet, a statement showing the number of absentee ballots that
the clerk has mailed or transmitted to voters, the number of absentee ballots that
have been returned to the clerk, and the number of absentee ballots counted.
Electronic voter registrations
Under current law, an individual holding a valid driver's license or
identification card issued by the Department of Transportation and who is eligible
to vote in Wisconsin may register electronically. The Elections Commission
maintains an Internet site that is used by voting-eligible individuals for purposes
of electronic registration, currently titled MyVote Wisconsin. Current law requires
the commission to provide a secure registration form on that Internet site that
enables the individual to enter and update the information necessary for purposes
of voter registration. Upon the voter's authorization, the commission obtains the
individual's electronic signature from DOT for purposes of authenticating the
information provided by the individual. The bill requires the Elections Commission
to maintain a version of the completed application that contains the voter's electronic
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
SB204-SSA1,1 1Section 1 . 6.18 (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB204-SSA1,5,15 26.18 Former residents. (intro.) If ineligible to qualify as an elector in the
3state to which the elector has moved, any former qualified Wisconsin elector may

1vote an absentee ballot in the ward of the elector's prior residence in any presidential
2election occurring within 24 months after leaving Wisconsin by requesting an
3application form and returning it, properly executed, to the municipal clerk of the
4elector's prior Wisconsin residence. When requesting an application form for an
5absentee ballot, the applicant shall specify the applicant's eligibility for only the
6presidential ballot. Unless the applicant is exempted from providing proof of
7identification under s. 6.87 (4) (b) 2. or 3., or the applicant is a military or overseas
8elector, the elector shall enclose a copy of his or her proof of identification or any
9authorized substitute document with his or her application. The municipal clerk
10shall verify that the name on the proof of identification conforms to the name on the
11application. The clerk shall not issue a ballot to an elector who is required to enclose
12a copy of proof of identification or an authorized substitute document with his or her
13application unless the copy is enclosed and the proof is verified by the clerk. The
14application form shall require the following information and be in substantially the
15following form:
SB204-SSA1,2 16Section 2 . 6.30 (5) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB204-SSA1,6,1417 6.30 (5) By electronic application. An eligible elector who holds a current and
18valid operator's license issued under ch. 343 or a current and valid identification card
19issued under s. 343.50 may register electronically in the manner prescribed by the
20commission. The commission shall maintain on the Internet a secure registration
21form that enables the elector to enter the information required under s. 6.33 (1)
22electronically. An elector who registers electronically under this subsection must
23authorize the commission to obtain from the department of transportation an
24electronic copy of the elector's signature, which signature shall constitute an
25affirmance that all information provided by the elector is correct and shall have the

1same effect as if the elector had signed the application personally. The commission
2shall include on the registration form a place for the elector to give this authorization.
3Upon submittal of the electronic application, the commission shall obtain from the
4department of transportation a copy of the electronic signature of the elector. The
5commission shall maintain the a version of the completed application on file and ,
6which shall contain the elector's electronic signature, and
shall notify the municipal
7clerk or board of election commissioners of the municipality where the elector resides
8of its receipt of each completed application. The commission shall also permit any
9elector who has a current and valid operator's license issued to the elector under ch.
10343 or a current and valid identification card issued under s. 343.50 to make changes
11in his or her registration at the same Internet site that is used by electors for original
12registration under this subsection. An elector shall attest to the correctness of any
13changes in the same manner as provided in this subsection for information entered
14on an application for original registration.
SB204-SSA1,3 15Section 3 . 6.86 (1) (ac) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB204-SSA1,7,216 6.86 (1) (ac) Any elector qualifying under par. (a) may make written application
17to the municipal clerk for an official ballot by means of facsimile transmission or
18electronic mail. Any application under this paragraph need not shall contain a copy
19of the applicant's original written signature . An elector requesting a ballot under
20this paragraph shall return with the voted ballot a copy of the request bearing an
21original signature of the elector as provided in s. 6.87 (4)
or contain the applicant's
22electronic signature on the application form in portable document format (PDF)
23Except as authorized in ss. 6.87 (4) (b) 2. to 5. , 4., and 5. and 6.875 (6), and
24notwithstanding s. 343.43 (1) (f), the elector shall transmit a copy of his or her proof

1of identification in the manner provided in s. 6.87 (1) unless the elector is a military
2elector or an overseas elector or the elector has a confidential listing under s. 6.47 (2).