Voter ID: What You Need to Know

you’ll have to show a photo ID when you vote Nov. 8

V1 Staff

Wherever you vote in the state of Wisconsin – and whomever you vote for – you’ll need to present a photo ID when you go to cast your ballot on Nov. 8. It’s a big election – besides the presidential race, members of the U.S. House and Senate, state lawmakers, and county officials also are all on the ballot – so you’ll want to make sure you’re ready to exercise your right when the big day arrives. Here’s a brief guide to making sure you have the right kid of photo ID, how to get one if you don’t, and dealing with any exceptions in the law. (If you’ve got more questions, the state has a helpful website,, which is where we got this information.)


Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat: There’s no such thing as a “Wisconsin Voter ID Card.” Instead, several kinds of official IDs that are acceptable at the polls – and you probably already have one.

These forms of photo ID are acceptable (even if they expired since the last general election, which was Nov. 4, 2014):

1. A Wisconsin DOT-issued drivers license.
2. A Wisconsin DOT-issued identification card.
3. One of the above cards without a photo issued under a religious exemption.
4. Military I.D. card issued by a U.S. uniformed service.
5. A U.S. passport.
6. An ID card from a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin. (May be used even if expired before the most recent general election.)
7. A photo ID card issued by a Wisconsin university or college that contains date of issuance, signature of student, and an expiration date no later than two years after date of issuance. Also, the university or college ID must be accompanied by a separate document that proves enrollment.

These forms of photo ID are also acceptable (but they must be UNEXPIRED):

1. A veteran’s photo ID card issued by the Veterans Health Administration of the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
2. A certificate of naturalization that was issued not earlier than two years before the date of an election at which it is presented.
3. A driving receipt issued by Wisconsin DOT (valid for 45 days).
4. An ID card receipt issued by Wisconsin DOT (valid for 45 days).
5. A temporary identification card receipt issued by Wisconsin DOT through the Identification Petition Process (IDPP) (valid for 180 days).
6. A citation or notice of intent to revoke or suspend a Wisconsin DOT-issued driver license that is dated within 60 days of the date of the election.

A few other things you should know:

1. If you’ve moved recently, don’t sweat it: The address on your ID doesn’t have to be current.
2. The name on your I.D. doesn’t have to exactly match your name in the book at the polling place, either: If you’re “Bob” on one and “Robert” on the other, you can still vote.
3. Your I.D. should look like you – within reason – so even if you’ve gained/lost weight or shaved/grown a beard, you’re likely still OK as long you’re still recognizable as the same person.


The good news: If you don’t have one of the forms of photo ID listed above, you can get a FREE state ID card with one trip to the local DMV office (as long as you bring the right paperwork). As of Oct. 31, special receipts including your photograph will be sent to you via overnight mail. For full details, visit and click on “How do I get a free state ID card?”

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