Student Voter Guide for Wisconsin’s 2020 Presidential Preference Primary

This guide will help you participate in Wisconsin’s April 7 Presidential Preference Primary, in which you can help choose America’s presidential nominees. Voter registration in Wisconsin is nonpartisan; you do not select a political party when you register. In the Wisconsin presidential primary, you must choose one party’s ballot in order to vote. The Democratic and Republican Parties are participating.

Dates and Deadlines

  • Primary election date: Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 7 AM to 8 PM
  • Registration deadline online and by mail (or re-registration if you need to make changes): March 18.
  • In-person advance registration (or re-registration) deadline: April 3
  • Election Day in-person registration at your polling place with the required ID: April 7
  • Last date to request an absentee ballot by mail: April 2 by 5 PM
  • Last date to request an absentee ballot and vote in person at your clerk’s office: April 3 until 5 PM
  • Last date to return an absentee ballot: April 7 until 8 PM

Why this primary matters

You have a chance to determine the presidential nominees for the two major political parties. Democratic Party delegates are allotted proportionately, with 15% minimum threshold to win candidates; Republican Party delegates are allotted Winner Take All.

Candidate information

For Republican and Democratic presidential candidate websites, CNN has a complete list. Politico also has a quick guide to Democratic candidate positions.


You are eligible to register if you are:

  • A United States citizen
  • At least 18 years old on or before Election Day
  • Have lived in at your current address for at least 10 consecutive days before this election, and do not currently intent to move. (A student address is fine– see Student Residency Guide if you have questions.) 
  • Not currently serving a sentence including incarceration, parole, probation, or extended supervision for a felony conviction

How to register to vote

You can register to vote online. Or you can download a registration application form (Español), complete, and return the printed form to your municipal clerk. You may also register to vote on Election Day at your polling place.

ID Requirements for registering

To register, you will need one of the following:

  • The license number on your unexpired and valid Wisconsin driver’s license or DOT-issued ID 
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number

If you don’t have one of these, indicate that on the registration application. You will also need to provide proof of residence, including a copy of a valid and unexpired Wisconsin driver license or ID Card, or a picture ID from a university, college, or technical college coupled with a fee receipt or an on-campus housing listing provided by your university, college or technical college. See this proof of residence page for a full list.

ID Requirements for voting

Acceptable photo ID for voting includes:

  • A Wisconsin driver’s license or Wisconsin DOT-issued ID (with or without a star in the right-hand corner)
  • A military ID card
  • A tribal ID card, even if expired
  • A photo identification card issued by a Wisconsin accredited 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.(May be used even if expired before the most recent general election.)

See the Wisconsin voter photo ID site for more information, including more forms of ID.

Absentee voting

You can request an absentee ballot without needing a reason. Fill out an absentee ballot request (Español) and submit it to your municipal clerk. You can choose to receive your ballot by mail, fax, or email, or to request a ballot and vote early in your clerk’s office. Or you can request an absentee ballot online. Instructions will be sent with your ballot. However you apply, you will need to include a copy of acceptable photo ID. See the list of acceptable IDs on the absentee ballot application form, including a Wisconsin driver license or ID card, or university, college, or tech college ID with enrollment verification.

Address to use for registering and voting

Per federal election law, college students can register and vote at either their campus address or their permanent home address, which may be out of state. However, voters can only be registered at one address. If you are not going to physically be in the state where you plan to vote, you will need to request an absentee ballot.

It’s your choice where to register. Registering at your campus address will not:

  • Affect your federal financial aid
  • Prevent your parents from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes
  • Cost you any scholarships, unless they’re tied to specific residency requirements
  • Affect your tuition status as an in-state or out-of-state student.

Key Resources