Opinions and Legal Insights

Wisconsin Hospitalized And Quarantined Electors Can Use Agent To Help Vote

Wisconsin’s surge in Covid-19 cases will result in thousands of electors hospitalized or quarantined on election day.  In Wisconsin, those hospitalized or quarantined can utilize the Hospitalized Electors Process to vote using an agent.  The ability to use this process was expanded by the Wisconsin Elections Commission this year to include voters quarantined under doctor’s order.  We have written about the use of a power of attorney to vote previously, here.

What Is Wisconsin’s Hospitalized Electors Process?

Under Wisconsin’s hospitalized electors process, the voter designates an agent.  In the case of a voter that is already registered to vote, the agent can apply for and obtain a ballot for the elector.  If a voter is not yet registered to vote in Wisconsin, the agent can register the elector to vote at the same time the agent applies for and obtains a ballot for the elector.

The agent brings the application for the ballot with a voter’s photo identification to the clerk’s office.  Once the clerk gives the agent the ballot, the agent brings the ballot to the hospitalized or quarantined elector.  The hospitalized or quarantined elector casts their ballot in the presence of a witness.

The agent can then bring the completed ballot to the clerk’s office, polling place, or ballot drop box.

Wisconsin Statute § 6.86(3)(a)

The hospitalized electors process permitting the use of an agent to help vote is set forth in Wisconsin Stat. § 6.86(3)(a), which states:

  1. Any elector who is registered and who is hospitalized, may apply for and obtain an official ballot by agent. The agent may apply for and obtain a ballot for the hospitalized absent elector by presenting a form prescribed by the commission and containing the required information supplied by the hospitalized elector and signed by that elector, unless the elector is unable to sign due to physical disability. In this case, the elector may authorize another elector to sign on his or her behalf. Any elector signing an application on another elector’s behalf shall attest to a statement that the application is made on request and by authorization of the named elector, who is unable to sign the application due to physical disability. The agent shall present this statement along with all other information required under this subdivision. Except as authorized for an elector who has a confidential listing under s. 6.47 (2)or as authorized under s. 6.87 (4) (b) 4., the agent shall present any proof of identification required under sub. (1) (ar). The form shall include a space for the municipal clerk or deputy clerk to enter his or her initials indicating that the agent presented proof of identification to the clerk on behalf of the elector.

  2. If a hospitalized elector is not registered, the elector may register by agent under this subdivision at the same time that the elector applies for an official ballot by agent under subd. 1.To register the elector under this subdivision, the agent shall present a completed registration form that contains the required information supplied by the elector and the elector’s signature, unless the elector is unable to sign due to physical disability. In this case, the elector may authorize another elector to sign on his or her behalf. Any elector signing a form on another elector’s behalf shall attest to a statement that the application is made on request and by authorization of the named elector, who is unable to sign the form due to physical disability. The agent shall present this statement along with all other information required under this subdivision. The agent shall provide proof of the elector’s residence under s. 6.34.