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

April 6, 2021, Spring Election

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

The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) recently met to discuss care facility voting for the April 6, 2021, Spring Election and determined that changes in COVID-19 and vaccination rates will allow for Special Voting Deputies (SVDs) to administer voting in some facilities. Municipal clerks will contact each facility normally served by SVDs to discuss visitation policies with you and your staff to determine if SVD voting will be possible.

The WEC has recorded a webinar that details this process and created reference materials that explain the by-mail absentee voting options and procedures for your residents and staff if visitation is still not allowed. 

If your facility is currently allowing visitors, you should discuss any public health requirements (such as COVID-19 testing or PPE) with the clerk so they can plan accordingly and determine if their SVDs are able to meet those requirements. It may be helpful to discuss the mechanics of the SVD voting process on these calls, such as determining the space needed for safely conducting voting and the possibility of visiting resident rooms to administer ballots. These details will help the SVDs and facility staff prepare for voting and ensure that it takes place in a safe manner that respects public health procedures. If visitation by SVDs is allowed, the SVDs (and not facility staff) will conduct all voting for eligible residents in the facility who wish to vote.

If your facility is not open to visitors, clerks or SVDs will schedule the two visits required by law, but these visits may include tele-visit options, such as phone or Zoom calls. The purpose of these calls will be to confirm that your facility is not open to visitors and once these two calls are complete the clerk will mail ballots to all residents of your facility with an active absentee request on file.

Residents who receive ballots outside of the SVD voting process will have to vote their ballot, have a witness provide required information on the return envelope, and return their ballot in order to participate in the election. 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 a request before a ballot will be mailed to them.

The deadlines for both voter registration and requesting an absentee ballot prior to the April 6, 2021, Spring Election are as follows:

  • Voter registration deadline (online or by mail): Wednesday, March 17, 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 April 6, 2021, Spring Election is Thursday April 1, 2021, for regular voters and Friday April 2, 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

If SVDs will not be visiting your facility, residents voting by mail 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.

If SVDs are visiting your facility to conduct voting, care facility staff are prohibited by law from assisting residents with these voting-related tasks and all assistance with reading, marking, witnessing, and completing the certificate envelope must be done by the SVDs.

Please reach out to the WEC with questions or concerns. You can reach the WEC by email: or by phone: 608-266-8005.

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