What You Need to Know About Voting If You Move Between Now and Election Day in Wisconsin



By Pat Kreitlow

October 7, 2020

Republicans changed the rules for determining whether you can vote in your new neighborhood.

For more coverage designed to help you cast a ballot this fall, see our special page on the election: Your Vote Matters

As of Tuesday, Oct. 6, if you move to a new address in Wisconsin, you may get a warm welcome from your new neighbors but you won’t be able to vote at the neighborhood polling place. A court earlier this year upheld new restrictions passed by Republicans that changed the period to establish residency for voting purposes.

A federal Appeals Court weighed earlier this year on the voting landscape, requiring voters to be Wisconsin residents for at least 28 days to vote in an election, up from the previous cutoff of 10 days. 

The unanimous decision by the three-member 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago was handed down on June 29 for a case that had been before the court since February, 2017, involving, in part, a change made earlier by the Republican-led Wisconsin Legislature. 

RELATED: The Basics of Becoming a Wisconsin Voter

For those who move within 28 days of an election, they will now have to vote absentee from their old address, even though they would now be required to vote for candidates who may no longer represent them. A voter who moved to Wisconsin from another state during this window can use their new polling place, but only to vote in the presidential race.

The exact language in the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s Voter Eligibility Guide says:

“You must have resided at your current address for at least 28 days prior to the election. If you have moved to a new address within Wisconsin within 28 days of an election, you may be qualified to vote from your former address until you meet the 28 day requirement at your new address. If you have moved to Wisconsin from another state less than 28 days before an election, you are only eligible to vote a Presidential only ballot in Wisconsin until you achieve the 28 days.” 

President Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes.

RELATED: More stories about voting in the 2020 election


  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.



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