Voters Still Have Time to Get a Free Photo ID for the November 3 Election

MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Elections Commission reminds voters that if they don’t have an acceptable photo ID, they still have time to get one to vote.

“If you don’t have an acceptable photo ID, you can get one for free after just one visit to a Wisconsin DMV office through the ID Petition Process,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief election official.

“Just bring whatever identifying documents you have like a birth certificate and proof of your current address,” said Wolfe, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. “However, if you don’t have everything necessary, the DMV will still mail you a document with your photo that you can use for voting.” 

Photo ID Required to Vote

To vote in Wisconsin, whether at the polls on November 3 or absentee in-person at their clerk’s office starting October 20, voters must show an acceptable photo ID.  Wolfe said most people already have the photo ID they need to vote like a Wisconsin driver license, state ID card or other DMV-issued photo ID document.  Voters can also use a U.S. passport, military and veteran’s IDs, some student IDs, tribal IDs, or a certificate of naturalization. The full list is available HERE

“Your photo ID does not need to have your current address, and your name on your ID does not have to exactly match the name on the poll list,” Wolfe said.  “Your driver license or state ID card may even be expired, but it must have expired after the date of the most recent general election, which was the November 6, 2018.”

Make Plans Now to Get a Photo ID 

Wolfe urged voters who do not have an acceptable photo ID to make plans now to get one for free from the DMV.  For security reasons, the DMV does not issue driver licenses or state ID cards the same day but mails them to customers. 

Voters who find they do not have an acceptable ID on Election Day can still cast a provisional ballot that will be counted if they bring an acceptable ID to their city, village or town clerk’s office by 4 p.m. the Friday after the election.  Voters who cast a provisional ballot should go to the DMV as soon as possible.  

All Wisconsin DMV service centers are now open for driver license and ID card customers.  To find your nearest DMV service center or a list of all locations and service hours, please visit the DMV website:

How to Get a Free Photo ID to Vote with Wisconsin’s ID Petition Process

Because some citizens do not have access to their birth certificate or would have to pay to get a copy, the State of Wisconsin developed the ID Petition Process (IDPP) to assist them in getting photo identification necessary to vote. 

The Wisconsin DMV will provide a state ID card for free to any person who needs it for voting purposes.  If an applicant does not have all the required documentation to get a regular state ID card, DMV has an ID Petition Process available if fees arise in order to obtain a free ID card for voting. This petition process is available for applicants unable to provide proof of name and date of birth, United States citizenship, identity, or other required documentation.  

Just bring what documents you have to the DMV, fill out two forms, and you will get a photo ID document in the mail that you can use in time for voting.  Starting the week of October 19, the DMV will send customers their photo ID document by overnight delivery.

The DMV photo ID document can be used for up to 60 days for voting.  At the same time, the DMV staff will search for official birth records and other documentation needed to issue the applicant a regular state ID card, if possible.  If DMV cannot authenticate the information on the IDPP receipt, the customer will continue to get receipts as long as he or she remains in contact with DMV regarding their application.  If DMV finds someone is not eligible for a Wisconsin ID card (because he or she are not a Wisconsin resident or not a US citizen), DMV will cancel the IDPP application.

Voters who need assistance can call the DMV’s voter ID hotline toll-free at (844) 588-1069.

Reid Magney, public information officer, 608-267-7887, or [email protected].