(9) Posting sample ballots.
Two sample ballots sent by the municipal clerk shall be posted by the inspectors near the entrance to the polling place for public inspection throughout the day.
(10) Challenged electors.
If any person is challenged for cause, the inspectors shall proceed under ss. 6.92
and with the aid of other provisions of ch. 6
as appear applicable, shall resolve the challenge.
(11) Spoiled ballots.
Any spoiled ballot returned to an inspector under s. 6.80 (2) (c)
shall be immediately destroyed by one of the inspectors.
The election inspectors shall constitute the board of canvassers of their polling place and in that capacity shall perform the duties under s. 7.51
, except as otherwise designated by the municipal clerk under ss. 5.85
Political party election functions. 7.38(1)
Each recognized political party may appoint observers at polling places as provided in s. 7.39
(3) Vacancies after nomination. 7.38(3)(a)(a)
Except as provided in par. (d)
, after the death of a candidate nominated for a partisan office, either in a primary or when no primary is required under s. 8.50 (3) (b)
, the vacancy may be filled by the candidate's political party. In the case of county offices, the vacancy shall be filled by the chairperson of the county committee. If no county committee exists, the vacancy shall be filled by the chairperson of the state committee. For other offices, the vacancy shall be filled by the chairperson of the state committee. The appropriate chairperson shall file with the official or agency with whom nomination papers are filed for the office a certificate signed, certified and sworn to the same as an original nomination paper. The certificate shall state the cause of the vacancy, the name of the new nominee and the office for which the nomination is made. A political party may not nominate a candidate for an office for which no person representing that party has filed nomination papers and a declaration of candidacy.
The certificate shall be filed within 4 days of the date of notification of the vacancy and shall have the same effect as original nomination papers.
If the vacancy occurs after ballots have been printed in any county or municipality, the chairperson of the committee filling the vacancy shall supply the municipal clerk with stickers containing the name of the new nominee only. The stickers may be no larger than the space provided on the ballot for the original candidate's name and office.
There can be no vacancy in nomination prior to a party primary, except when no primary is required under s. 8.50 (3) (b)
In the event of failure to file the name of a current state chairperson, as required under s. 8.17 (12)
, the board may not recognize the state committee for the purpose of filling vacancies under par. (a)
For every polling place, each recognized political party may appoint 2 party observers and an alternate for each, as observers of the election proceedings. The appointments may be made by the county committee of the party that nominated the candidates. Party appointments shall be filled by the chairperson of the party. Except at primary elections, observers appointed by a party shall serve as observers for all candidates appearing on the ballot or in the column of that party.
Candidates at partisan primary elections, independent candidates at partisan elections and candidates at nonpartisan elections may similarly appoint one observer for each polling place to represent them.
Groups registered under s. 11.05 (1)
may similarly appoint one observer for each polling place to represent the group at any referendum election.
The board may promulgate rules prescribing procedures and standards whereby nonpartisan and bipartisan organizations of electors not affiliated with any candidate may be authorized to appoint observers under this section.
(2m) Candidate disqualification.
No candidate at an election may serve as an observer of the election proceedings at that election.
(3) Filing of appointment.
The person making each appointment shall file a signed letter of appointment with the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners of the municipality in which the appointee is designated to serve at least 4 days before the election. The file copy shall specify the name and residence of the appointee, the polling place for which appointed, and the name of an alternate appointee, if any, in case the original appointee is absent.
Upon filing, the clerk shall issue permits to the appointees giving authority to be present during the election and counting of the ballots. Upon request, the clerk shall issue a permit to the alternate appointee when an original appointee fails to serve for all or a part of the day.
(5) Poll positions.
Observers of election proceedings, as a matter of right, shall be so positioned at the polls by the chief inspector as to reasonably be enabled to closely observe proceedings and hear instructions given to voters.
Any individual, committee or candidate, at their own expense, subject to limitations upon contributions and disbursements under ch. 11
, may print a supply of sample ballots, provided they bear on their face the information required by s. 11.30 (2)
and they contain all the names shown on the official ballot.
History: 1987 a. 391
Public's right to access. 7.41(1)
Any member of the public may be present at any polling place for the purpose of observation of an election, except a candidate at that election.
The chief inspector may restrict the location of any individual exercising the right under sub. (1)
to certain areas within a polling place. The chief inspector shall clearly designate such an area as an observation area. Designated observation areas shall be so positioned to permit any authorized individual to readily observe all public aspects of the voting process.
The chief inspector may order the removal of any individual exercising the right under sub. (1)
if that individual commits an overt act which:
Disrupts the operation of the polling place; or
History: 1989 a. 192
CANVASS OF RETURNS AND CERTIFICATION
Elector intent. 7.50(1)(1)
Requirements and restrictions. 7.50(1)(a)(a)
Except as provided in s. 7.15 (6)
, only ballots provided by the person authorized to have them printed shall be cast and counted in any election.
When an elector casts more votes for any office or measure than he or she is entitled to cast at an election, all the elector's votes for that office or measure are invalid and the elector is deemed to have voted for none of them, except as provided in par. (c)
and sub. (2) (d)
. If an elector casts less votes for any office or measure than he or she is entitled to cast at an election, all votes cast by the elector shall be counted but no vote shall be counted more than once.
If an elector casts more than one vote for the same candidate for the same office, the first vote is valid and the remaining votes are invalid.
Whenever an electronic voting system is used at a polling place in a partisan primary, and the same ballot is utilized to cast votes for candidates of more than one recognized political party or candidates of a party and independent candidates, if an elector designates a preference for a party or for independent candidates, only votes cast within that preference category may be counted. If an elector does not designate a preference and makes a mark or punch or affixes a sticker opposite candidates of more than one recognized political party or opposite a candidate in the independent candidates' column and a candidate of a recognized political party, no votes cast by the elector for any candidate for partisan office are valid. Votes for other candidates and votes on ballot questions, if any, shall be counted if otherwise valid.
(2) Ascertainment of intent.
All ballots cast at an election which bear the initials of 2 inspectors shall be counted for the person or referendum question for whom or for which they were intended, so far as the electors' intent can be ascertained from the ballots notwithstanding informality or failure to fully comply with other provisions of chs. 5
.To determine intent:
At a general election, if the elector places a mark, symbol or sticker or punches a hole under a party designation at the head of a column in or near the space indicated for that purpose, it is a vote for all the candidates whose names appear in the marked or punched column except as otherwise provided in this paragraph. If a name is stricken, it is not a vote for that candidate. If a name is written in, it is a vote for the write-in candidate. If a sticker is attached it is a vote for the candidate whose name appears on the sticker. If in some other column there is a mark or punch in the square to the right of a specific candidate's name or at the place designated on the ballot for marking or punching a vote for a specific candidate for the same office, it is a vote for that specific candidate and no vote may be counted for the candidate for the same office in the column marked or punched for a straight party vote.
A ballot cast without any marks, stickers or punches may not be counted. A ballot without a mark or punch at the top of a party column may be counted only for persons for whom marks or punches are applicable.
If an elector marks a ballot with a cross (7), or any other marks, as |, A, V, O, /, ✓, +, within the square to the right of a candidate's name, or any place within the space in which the name appears, indicating an intent to vote for that candidate, it is a vote for the candidate whose name it is opposite.
Any apparent erasure of a mark next to the name of a candidate may not be counted as a vote for that candidate if the elector makes another mark next to the name of one or more different candidates for the same office and counting of the mark would result in an excess number of votes cast for the office.
If an elector writes a person's name in the proper space for write-in candidates for an office, it is a vote for the person written in for the office indicated, regardless of whether the elector strikes the names appearing in the same column for the same office, or places a mark or punch by the same or any other name for the same office, or omits placing a mark or punch to the right of the name written in. If an elector is permitted to vote for more than one candidate for the same office in an election and casts one or more write-in votes which, when added to the votes cast for candidates whose names appear on the ballot, exceed the number of votes authorized to be cast for the office, the write-in votes shall be counted and the votes for candidates whose names appear on the ballot may not be counted, unless there are more write-in votes than votes authorized to be cast, in which case no votes may be counted for the office.
No write-in vote shall be regarded as defective due to misspelling a candidate's name, or by abbreviation, addition, omission or use of a wrong initial in the name. Every vote shall be counted for the candidate for whom it was intended, if the elector's intent can be ascertained from the ballot itself.
If a sticker applied to the ballot lists a candidate's name and the office which the candidate seeks, it is a vote for the name appearing on the sticker even if the sticker does not contain a box or the elector omits the cross to the right of the name, or makes a cross in another column for a candidate for the same office. If a sticker is pasted over the name of any candidate printed on the ballot, it is a vote for the candidate shown on the sticker but no vote may be counted for the candidate over which the sticker is pasted. Only stickers appearing on the face of the ballot may be counted.
In partisan primaries, if an elector writes in the name of an individual on a ballot other than the one on which that individual's name is shown as a candidate, the write-in vote may not be counted.
In the general election or a partisan special election, a write-in vote may not be counted for any candidate if the candidate's name appears on the official ballot, except a write-in vote cast for the same office under which the candidate's name appears if no other similar name appears on the ballot for any office.
In a nonpartisan primary or election using voting machines if an elector is permitted to vote for more than one candidate for the same office, a write-in vote may not be counted if the vote is cast for a candidate whose name appears on the ballot for that office.
The failure by an elector to write in the name of a candidate for the office of vice president of the United States on the general election ballot does not invalidate the elector's vote for any candidate whose name is written in for the office of president of the United States. The failure of an elector to write in the name of a candidate for the office of president of the United States on the general election ballot invalidates the elector's vote for any candidate whose name is written in for the office of vice president of the United States. The failure of an elector to write in the names of candidates for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor on the general election ballot invalidates the elector's vote for any candidate whose name is written in for the office of governor or lieutenant governor alone.
If an elector writes in or pastes a sticker in the position for an office, it is a vote for that office, even if the elector writes in or the sticker indicates the name of a different office.
Local board of canvassers. 7.51(1)
Immediately after the polls close the inspectors shall proceed to canvass publicly all votes received at the polling place. In any municipality where an electronic voting system is used, the municipal governing body or board of election commissioners may provide or authorize the municipal clerk or executive director of the board of election commissioners to provide for the adjournment of the canvass to one or more central counting locations for specified polling places in the manner prescribed in subch. III of ch. 5
. No central counting location may be used to count votes at a polling place where an electronic voting system is not employed. The canvass, whether conducted at the polling place or at the central counting location, shall continue without adjournment until the canvass is completed and the return statements are made.
The inspectors shall first compare the poll or registration lists, correcting any mistakes until the poll or registration lists agree. The chief inspector and the inspectors who are responsible for recording electors under s. 6.79
shall verify the correctness of the poll or registration lists after the polls close by each signing their name thereto. Where ballots are distributed to electors, the inspectors shall then open the ballot box and remove and count the number of ballots therein without examination except as is necessary to ascertain that each is a single ballot. If 2 or more ballots are folded together so as to appear as a single ballot, the inspectors shall lay them aside until the count is completed; and if, after a comparison of the count and the appearance of the ballots it appears to a majority of the inspectors that the ballots folded together were voted by the same person they may not be counted but the inspectors shall mark them as to the reason for removal, set them aside and carefully preserve them. The inspectors shall then proceed under par. (b)
When during the counting of the ballots cast at an election a majority of the inspectors find that a ballot is so defective that they cannot determine with reasonable certainty for whom it was cast, they shall so mark the ballot and preserve it. The inspectors shall not count the vote cast on the ballot for any office for which they determine the ballot to be defective.
Whenever the number of ballots exceeds the number of voting electors as indicated on the poll or registration list, the inspectors shall place all ballots face up to check for blank ballots. In this paragraph, "blank ballot" means a ballot on which no votes are cast for any office or question. The inspectors shall mark, lay aside and preserve any blank ballots. If the number of ballots still exceeds the number of voting electors, the inspectors shall place all ballots face down and proceed to check for the initials. The inspectors shall mark, lay aside and preserve any ballot not bearing the initials of 2 inspectors or any absentee ballot not bearing the initials of the municipal clerk. During the count the inspectors shall count those ballots cast by challenged electors the same as the other ballots.
The inspectors shall keep a written statement, in duplicate, of the number of ballots set aside and the number of defective ballots and challenged ballots. The statement shall contain a record of the reasons for setting aside each ballot and the reasons why each defective or challenged ballot is defective or challenged. The inspectors shall certify that the statement is correct, sign it, and attach it to the tally sheets.
If, after any ballots have been laid aside, the number of ballots still exceeds the total number of electors recorded on the registration or poll list, the inspectors shall separate the absentee ballots from the other ballots. If there is an excess number of absentee ballots, the inspectors shall place the absentee ballots in the ballot box and one of the inspectors shall publicly and without examination draw therefrom by chance the number of ballots equal to the excess number of absentee ballots. If there is an excess number of other ballots, the inspectors shall place those ballots in the ballot box and one of the inspectors shall publicly and without examination draw therefrom by chance the number of ballots equal to the excess number of those ballots. All ballots so removed may not be counted but shall be specially marked as having been removed by the inspectors on original canvass due to an excess number of ballots, set aside and preserved. When the number of ballots and total shown on the poll or registration list agree, the inspectors shall return all ballots to be counted to the ballot box and shall turn the ballot box in such manner as to thoroughly mix the ballots. The inspectors shall then open, count and record the number of votes. When the ballots are counted, the inspectors shall separate them into piles for ballots similarly voted. Objections may be made to placement of ballots in the piles at the time the separation is made.
If corrected ballots are distributed under s. 5.72 (3)
or 7.10 (3)
, only the votes cast on the corrected ballots may be counted for any office or referendum in which the original ballots differ from the corrected ballots.
Immediately after the polls close, where voting machines are used, the inspectors shall open the registering or recording compartments or remove the record of the votes cast and shall canvass, record, announce and return on the tally sheets and certificates furnished. In recording the votes registered on any counter which, before the opening of the polls, did not register 000, the inspectors shall upon the return sheets subtract the number registered before the polls opened from the number registered when the polls closed. The difference between the 2 numbers is the correct vote for the candidate whose name was represented by the counter, except if the number registered on the counter when the polls closed is smaller than the number registered thereon when the polls opened, the number 1,000 shall be added to the number registered when the polls closed, before the subtraction is made.
Where a voting machine is used which produces a written record of the total votes cast for each candidate or referendum, the written record shall be presumed correct without reference to the total shown on the recorder in making its original statement, unless an error in the record is clearly apparent or unless a candidate at the election, or in the canvass of a referendum an elector who voted at the referendum, requests that the machine be viewed.
The inspectors shall place together all ballots counted by them which relate to any national, state or county office or any state, county or technical college district referendum and secure them together so that they cannot be untied or tampered with without breaking the seal. The secured ballots together with any ballots marked "Defective" shall then be secured by the inspectors in the ballot container in such a manner that the container cannot be opened without breaking the seals or locks, or destroying the container. The inspectors shall deliver the ballots to the municipal clerk in the container.
For ballots which relate only to municipal or school district offices or referenda, the inspectors, in lieu of par. (a)
, after counting the ballots shall return them to the proper ballot boxes, lock the boxes, paste paper over the slots, sign their names to the paper and deliver them and the keys therefor to the municipal or school district clerk. The clerk shall retain the ballots until destruction is authorized under s. 7.23
Where voting machines are used, as soon as the count is complete and fully recorded, the inspectors shall seal, close and lock the machine, or remove the record so it cannot be voted on or tampered with. They shall then proceed to separately canvass and return any paper ballots voted under s. 5.40 (3)
. The inspectors shall count the challenged ballots the same as other ballots. Upon completion of the canvass, the inspectors shall return the paper ballots in a separate envelope marked "Paper Ballots". The inspectors shall place the record of write-in votes cast on the machines in an envelope marked "Write-In Votes". The inspectors shall return the paper ballots and write-in votes along with any printed voting record produced by the voting machines to the clerk under par. (a)
or to the board of election commissioners. The inspectors shall place the envelopes and printed voting record in a properly sealed bag or container, indicating the ward or wards and county.
All absentee certificate-affidavit envelopes which have been opened shall be returned by the inspectors to the municipal clerk in a securely sealed carrier envelope which is clearly marked "used absentee certificate-affidavit envelopes". The envelopes shall be signed by the chief inspector and 2 other inspectors. Except when the ballots are used in a municipal or school district election only, the municipal clerk shall transmit the used envelopes to the county clerk.
The tally sheets shall state the total number of votes cast for each office and for each individual receiving votes for that office, whether or not the individual's name appears on the ballot, and shall state the vote for and against each proposition voted on. Upon completion of the tally sheets, the inspectors shall immediately complete inspectors' statements in duplicate. The inspectors shall state the excess by which the number of ballots exceeds the number of electors voting as shown by the poll or registration list, if any, and shall state the number of the last elector as shown by the registration or poll lists. At least 3 inspectors, including the chief inspector and at least one inspector representing each political party, shall then certify to the correctness of the statements and tally sheets and sign their names. All other election officials assisting with the tally shall also certify to the correctness of the tally sheets. When the tally is complete, the inspectors shall publicly announce the results from the statements.
The chief inspector, or one of the inspectors appointed by him or her, immediately after the votes are tabulated or counted at each election, shall report the returns of the election to the municipal clerk or to the school district clerk for school district elections, except in 1st class cities. The clerk shall then make the returns public.
The inspectors shall make full and accurate return of the votes cast for each candidate and proposition on tally sheet blanks provided by the municipal clerk for the purpose. Each tally sheet shall record the returns for each office or referendum by ward, unless combined returns are authorized in accordance with s. 5.15 (6) (b)
in which case the tally sheet shall record the returns for each group of combined wards. After recording the votes, the inspectors shall seal in a carrier envelope outside the ballot bag or container one inspectors' statement under sub. (4) (a)
, one tally sheet and one poll or registration list for delivery to the county clerk, unless the election relates only to municipal or school district offices or referenda. The inspectors shall also similarly seal one inspectors' statement, one tally sheet and one poll or registration list for delivery to the municipal clerk. For school district elections, except in 1st class cities, the inspectors shall similarly seal one inspectors' statement, one tally sheet and one poll or registration list for delivery to the school district clerk. The inspectors shall immediately deliver all ballots, statements, tally sheets, lists and envelopes to the municipal clerk. The municipal clerk shall arrange for delivery of all ballots, statements, tally sheets, lists and envelopes relating to a school district election to the school district clerk. The municipal clerk shall deliver the ballots, statements, tally sheets, lists and envelopes for his or her municipality relating to any county, technical college district, state or national election to the county clerk by 2 p.m. on the day following each such election. The person delivering the returns shall be paid out of the municipal treasury. Each clerk receiving ballots, statements, tally sheets or envelopes shall retain them until destruction is authorized under s. 7.23 (1)
(6) Electronic voting systems.
The procedure for canvassing of votes cast at polling places utilizing an electronic voting system in which ballots are distributed to electors shall follow the procedure for canvassing paper ballots insofar as applicable, and the procedure for canvassing of votes cast at polling places utilizing an electronic voting machine shall follow the procedure for canvassing of mechanical voting machines insofar as applicable, except as otherwise provided in ss. 5.85
Municipal canvass. 7.53(1)(1)
Municipalities with one polling place.
Where the municipality constitutes one ward or combines all wards to utilize a single polling place under s. 5.15 (6) (b)
, the canvass shall be conducted publicly under s. 7.51
and the inspectors shall act as the municipal board of canvassers. Upon completion of the canvass and ascertainment of the results by the inspectors, the clerk shall publicly read the names of the persons voted for and the number of votes for each person for each municipal office, the names of the persons declared by the inspectors to have won nomination or election to each municipal office and the number of votes cast for and against each municipal referendum question.
(2) Municipalities with 2 or more wards. 7.53(2)(a)(a)
Except as provided in par. (c)
, the municipal board of canvassers for municipal elections in each municipality utilizing more than one polling place shall be composed of the municipal clerk and 2 other qualified electors of the municipality appointed by the clerk. The members of the board of canvassers shall serve for 2-year terms commencing on January 1 of each odd-numbered year, except that any member who is appointed to fill a permanent vacancy shall serve for the unexpired term of the original appointee. If the municipal clerk's office is vacant, if the clerk cannot perform his or her duties or if the clerk is a candidate at an election being canvassed, the mayor, president or board chairperson of the municipality shall designate another qualified elector of the municipality to serve in lieu of the clerk for that election. If any other member of the board of canvassers is a candidate at the election being canvassed, the clerk shall appoint another qualified elector of the municipality to temporarily fill the vacancy.
In cities of more than 500,000 population, the board of election commissioners shall act as the board of canvassers.
If one or more temporary vacancies on the municipal board of canvassers reduces the number of members to less than 3, the municipal clerk shall appoint a member to fill each vacancy, except in cities of more than 500,000 population. In cities of more than 500,000 population, the executive director of the board of election commissioners shall serve as a member of the board of canvassers to fill a temporary vacancy on that board.
The municipal board of canvassers shall publicly canvass the returns of every municipal election. The canvass shall begin within 24 hours after the polls close. At the spring election, the board of canvassers shall publicly declare the results on or before the 2nd Tuesday in April. The board of canvassers shall prepare a statement showing the results of each election for any municipal office and each municipal referendum. After each primary for municipal offices, the board of canvassers shall prepare a statement certifying the names of those persons who have won nomination to office. After each other election for a municipal office and each municipal referendum, the board of canvassers shall prepare a determination showing the names of the persons who are elected to each municipal office and the results of each municipal referendum. The board of canvassers shall file each statement and determination in the office of the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners.
(3) School district elections. 7.53(3)(a)(a)
In a common, union high or unified school district, the school district clerk shall appoint 2 qualified electors of the school district prior to the date of the election being canvassed who shall, with the school district clerk, constitute the school district board of canvassers. If the school district clerk is a candidate at the election being canvassed, the other 2 members of the board of canvassers shall designate a 3rd member to serve in lieu of the clerk for that election. The canvass shall begin as soon as possible after receipt of the returns, and shall continue, without adjournment, until completed. The board of canvassers may return defective returns to the municipal board of canvassers in the manner provided in s. 7.60 (3)
. The board of canvassers shall prepare a written statement showing the numbers of votes cast for each person for each office and for and against each question and shall prepare a determination showing the names of the persons who are elected to the school board and the results of any school district referendum. Following each primary election, the board of canvassers shall prepare a statement certifying the names of the persons who have won nomination to the school board. Each statement and determination shall be attested by each of the canvassers. The board of canvassers shall file each statement and determination in the school district office. The school district clerk shall certify nominations after each primary and issue certificates of election to persons who are elected to the school board after each election in the manner provided in sub. (4)
In a 1st class city school district, the municipal board of canvassers or election commissioners shall determine the results of school district elections and referenda and shall file a written statement and determination of the results for each election and referendum in the office of the city clerk or board of election commissioners. The board of election commissioners or city clerk shall certify nominations after each primary and issue certificates of election to persons who are elected to the board of school directors after each election in the manner provided in sub. (4)
(4) Certificate of election.
As soon as the deadline for filing a petition for a recount has passed, the municipal clerk shall issue promptly a certificate of election to each person elected to any municipal office. When a valid petition for a recount is filed, the municipal clerk shall not issue the certificate of election for the office in question until the recount has been completed and the time allowed for filing an appeal has passed, or if appealed until the appeal is decided.