Voting News for Care Facilities from the Wisconsin Elections Commission

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Information Bulletin

Voting News for Care Facilities from the Wisconsin Elections Commission

February 16, 2021, Spring Primary

The following message from the Wisconsin Elections Commission is for administrators and staff at nursing homes and care facilities.

Due to safety concerns, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) determined that special voting deputies (SVDs) will not be dispatched to care facilities to administer voting for the February 16, 2021, Spring Primary. Residents of care facilities normally served by SVDs will instead be mailed absentee ballots. In support of these efforts the WEC has updated the reference materials that explain the voting options and procedures for residents in nursing homes and care facilities. These resources are available on the WEC website.

Residents who receive ballots will have to vote their ballot, have a witness provide required information on the return envelope, and return their ballot by mail in order to participate. There may be residents who need to register to vote or update their voter registration to reflect their current name or address. In addition, residents without an active absentee ballot request on file with their municipal clerk will have to submit one before a ballot will be mailed to them.

The deadlines for both voter registration and requesting an absentee ballot prior to the February 16, 2021, Spring Primary are as follows:

  • Voter registration deadline (online or by mail): Wednesday, January 27, 2021. Voters in your facilities who need to register should do so ASAP. Voter registration after this deadline must take place in-person, either in the municipal clerk’s office or at the polling place on Election Day.
  • Absentee request deadline: The deadline to make a request for the February 16, 2021, Spring Primary is Thursday, February 11, 2021, for regular voters and Friday, February 12, 2021, for voters who self-certify they are “indefinitely confined” due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability.
  • Absentee return deadline: State law requires that all ballots must be returned by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. Ballots can be returned by mail or delivered in-person to the clerk’s office for an individual voter’s municipality. You can find more information about local ballot return options on the MyVote Wisconsin website

Due to these changes, residents of care facilities may need assistance to be able to vote. As a care facility administrator or staff member, you are able to:

  • Assist residents in filling out their ballots or certificate envelopes.
  • Assist residents in completing voter registration forms and absentee requests.
  • Sign the special certificate envelope (EL-122sp) if necessary (see below for explanation).
  • Witness ballots.

There are resources on the WEC website on the following topics: registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot, witnessing, and assisting your residents.

The WEC knows that this may be difficult for many care facilities due to competing priorities and staffing, so please reach out to the WEC with any further questions or concerns. Call 608-266-8005 or email

Thank you for your support in making voting as accessible as possible for your residents.