Election commissioners, duties and regulations. 7.21(1)(1)
All powers and duties assigned to the municipal or county clerk or the municipal or county board of canvassers under chs. 5
shall be carried out by the municipal or county board of election commissioners or its executive director, unless specifically retained or assigned in this section or s. 7.22
The county board of election commissioners may hire an executive director who shall perform whatever duties the board assigns to him or her. The county board shall determine the salary of that executive director. Appointment and removal of that executive director shall be subject to civil service standards. An executive director of the city board of election commissioners shall be appointed under s. 66.146
The board of election commissioners is authorized to employ additional clerical assistants to carry out its necessary duties. The assistants' salaries shall be fixed by the governing body of the municipality or county.
The board of election commissioners may procure a seal to authenticate official papers and documents.
The city council and county board shall provide office space in the city hall and county courthouse, respectively, pay all the necessary expenses, cooperate with the board of election commissioners, provide storage space for the election equipment and supplies and assist with the moving and conducting of the elections as necessary.
Municipal board of election commissioners. 7.22(1)(1)
The common council shall determine the salaries of the election commissioners and shall include sufficient funds in its budget to allow the municipal board of election commissioners to fulfill its duties.
All expenses shall be paid upon order of the municipal board of election commissioners, signed by the chairperson and executive director and countersigned by the city comptroller. The orders, made payable to persons in whose favor issued, shall be the vouchers for the city treasurer for the payment of the orders.
The municipal board of election commissioners shall prepare and furnish copies of all registrations, books, maps, instructions and blanks pertaining to the rules for registration and conducting elections for the use and guidance of the election officials.
The municipal board of election commissioners shall compile and publish a biennial report, containing election statistics and returns of all primaries and elections held within their city and county. Copies of the same shall be distributed to persons in such quantities as the municipal board of election commissioners deems proper.
The chief of police shall station a police officer at polling places designated by the municipal board of election commissioners for each election.
Destruction of election materials. 7.23(1)
All materials and supplies associated with an election, except as provided in sub. (2)
, may be destroyed according to the following schedule:
Any unused materials after an election and the contents of the blank ballot box after a primary may be destroyed at a time and in a manner designated by the appropriate clerk.
Voting machine recorders essential for proper operation of voting machines may be cleared and reactivated 14 days after any primary and 21 days after any other election.
Registration cards which are canceled under s. 6.50 (7)
may be destroyed 4 years after cancellation.
Except as provided in s. 11.21 (11) (a)
, financial reports may be destroyed 6 years after the date of receipt. Financial registration statements may be destroyed 6 years after termination of registration.
Registration and poll lists created at a nonpartisan primary or election may be destroyed 2 years after the primary or election at which they were created and registration and poll lists created at a partisan primary or election may be destroyed 4 years after the primary or election at which they were created.
Except as authorized in pars. (b)
, ballots, applications for absentee ballots, registration forms, or other records and papers requisite to voting at any federal election, other than registration cards, may be destroyed after 22 months.
Detachable recording units and compartments for use with electronic voting machines may be cleared or erased 14 days after any primary and 21 days after any other election. Before clearing or erasing the units or compartments, a municipal clerk shall transfer the data contained in the units or compartments to a disk or other recording medium which may be erased or destroyed 22 months after the election to which the data relates.
Ballots may be destroyed 30 days after any election.
Official canvasses may be destroyed 10 years after the election to which they relate.
Election notices, and proofs of publication and correspondence filed in connection with such notices may be destroyed one year after the date of the election to which they relate.
All other materials and supplies associated with an election may be destroyed 90 days after the election.
If there is a demand for a recount, notice of an election contest or any contest or litigation pending with respect to an election, materials may be destroyed and recorders, units or compartments may be cleared or erased only by order of the judge in whose court litigation is pending or if no litigation is pending, by order of any circuit judge for the affected jurisdiction. Upon petition of the attorney general or a district attorney or U.S. attorney for the affected jurisdiction, a circuit judge for the affected jurisdiction may order that specified materials not be destroyed or that specified recorders, units or compartments not be cleared or erased as otherwise authorized under this subsection until the court so permits. The governor may by order permit the clearing of voting machine recorders on machines needed to conduct a special election prior to the time authorized under this subsection, unless there is a demand for recount, notice of an election contest or a contest or litigation pending, or a court of record orders that the recorders not be cleared.
Title to election materials.
The filing of a nomination paper, ballot application, financial report, affidavit, or other form or statement with the appropriate official or agency responsible for accepting such materials under chs. 5
irrevocably transfers the legal title to such official or agency, regardless of the sufficiency of the filing. The official or agency shall retain all election materials until destruction or other disposition is authorized under s. 7.23
History: 1975 c. 93
; 1979 c. 89
Voting machine officials' duties. 7.25(1)
The municipal clerk of each municipality in which voting machines are used is responsible for the proper ballot being placed on each machine, the sample ballots, setting, adjusting, and putting the machine in order to use in voting when delivered to the ward. For the purpose of labeling, setting, adjusting and putting the voting machines in order, one or more competent voting machine custodians may be employed.
Under the direction of the municipal clerk, the custodian shall label or insert, set, adjust, put in order and deliver the machines with all necessary furniture and appliances to the rooms where the election will be held for each ward at least one hour before the time set for opening the polls on election day.
In preparing a voting machine for an election according to the directions furnished, the custodian shall arrange the machine and ballot so both will meet all the requirements for voting and counting the election in the manner provided for in machine construction.
When a voting machine is properly prepared for an election and delivered to the election ward, it shall be locked and sealed against any movement and the governing body or board of election commissioners shall provide proper protection to prevent tampering with the machines. The custodians preparing the machines shall deliver the keys for the machines to the municipal clerk or executive director of the board of election commissioners together with a written report of each machine's condition.
Before an election each election official serving at a polling place where voting machines are used shall be instructed in their use and their duties in connection with them by the municipal clerk, who shall call as many meetings to give instructions to the election officials as are necessary. Officials and trainees may be compensated for attendance. Any person who does not understand the machines shall not be paid nor be allowed to serve.
Where voting machines are used, the election officials for each ward shall meet at their proper polling place at least 15 minutes before the time set for opening of the polls to arrange the voting machines and furniture to properly conduct the election.
Before opening the polls, they shall compare the ballots on the machines with the sample ballots furnished by the municipal clerk to ensure that the names, numbers and letters thereon agree; examine the seal on each machine to see that it has not been broken; and examine the counter on each machine to see that each registers 000. If any counter on any machine does not register 000, the counter number and the number showing on the counter shall be recorded, signed by all the election officials and a copy shall be conspicuously posted by the inspectors at the polling place during polling hours.
After the inspection under par. (b)
, on the blanks furnished, they shall certify the condition of each voting machine and its counters. Each form shall be signed by each election official. After the election, one copy of each machine's certification shall be delivered with each copy of the election returns.
Appointment of election officials. 7.30(1)
There shall be 7 inspectors for each polling place at each election. In municipalities where voting machines are used, the municipal governing body may reduce the number of inspectors to 5. A municipal governing body may provide for the appointment of additional inspectors whenever more than one voting machine is used or wards are combined under s. 5.15 (6) (b)
. A municipal governing body may provide by ordinance for the selection of alternate officials or the selection of 2 sets of officials to work at different times on election day. Unless officials are appointed without regard to party affiliation under sub. (4) (c)
, additional officials shall be appointed in such a manner that the total number of officials is an odd number and the predominant party under sub. (2)
is represented by one more official than the other party.
(2) Qualifications and procedure. 7.30(2)(a)(a)
Only election officials appointed under this section may conduct an election. Except as authorized in s. 7.15 (1) (k)
, each inspector shall be a qualified elector in the ward for which the polling place is established. Special registration deputies appointed under s. 6.55 (6)
and election officials serving more than one ward or when necessary to fill a vacancy under par. (b)
need not be a resident of that ward, but shall be a resident of the municipality. Special registration deputies may be appointed to serve more than one polling place. All officials shall be able to read and write the English language, be capable, be of good understanding, and may not be a candidate, other than for party committeeman or committeewoman, to be voted for at an election at which they serve. In 1st class cities, they may hold no public office other than notary public. Except as authorized under sub. (4) (c)
, all inspectors shall be affiliated with one of the 2 recognized political parties which received the largest number of votes for president, or governor in nonpresidential general election years, in the ward or combination of wards served by the polling place at the last election. The party which received the largest number of votes is entitled to one more inspector than the party receiving the next largest number of votes at each polling place. The same election officials may serve the electors of more than one ward where wards are combined under s. 5.15 (6) (b)
. If a municipality is not divided into wards, the ward requirements in this paragraph apply to the municipality at large.
When a vacancy occurs, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment of the municipal clerk. The vacancy shall be filled from the remaining names on the lists submitted under sub. (4)
or from additional names submitted by the chairperson of the county party committee of the appropriate party under sub. (4)
whenever names are submitted under sub. (4) (d)
. If the vacancy is due to candidacy, sickness or any other temporary cause, the appointment shall be a temporary appointment and effective only for the election at which the temporary vacancy occurs. The same qualifications shall be required of persons who fill vacancies. Vacancies may be filled in cases of emergency or because of time limitations by a person from another aldermanic district or ward within the municipality.
The governing body of any municipality may require all persons serving as election officials to prove their ability to read and write English and to have a general knowledge of the election laws. Examinations may be given to prove the qualifications can be met.
Not less than 30 days before any election the governing body or board of election commissioners of any municipality, by resolution, may authorize the municipal clerk or executive director of the board of election commissioners to select and employ tabulators for any election. Such authorization applies to the elections specified in the resolution, and if not specified, applies until the authorization is modified or revoked.
The tabulators shall assist and be under the direction of the election inspectors after the close of the polls.
Except in cities where there is a board of election commissioners, the mayor, president or board chairperson of each municipality shall nominate to the governing body no later than their last regular meeting in December of each even-numbered year the necessary election officials for each polling place. If no regular meeting is scheduled, the mayor, president or chairperson shall call a special meeting for the purpose of considering nominations no later than December 31.
The 2 dominant parties, under sub. (2)
, are each responsible for submitting a list of names from which the appointees shall be chosen.
In cities where there is a board of election commissioners, the aldermanic district committeemen or committeewomen under s. 8.17
of each of the 2 dominant recognized political parties shall submit a certified list no later than November 30 of each even-numbered year containing the names of at least as many electors as there are inspectors from that party for each of the voting wards in the aldermanic district. The chairperson of the city committee, or if there is none, the chairperson of the county committee shall submit a certified list no later than November 30 of each even-numbered year containing the names of at least as many special voting deputies under s. 6.875 (4)
as are required to be appointed in the city. The chairperson may designate any individual whose name is submitted as a first choice nominee. The board of election commissioners shall appoint, no later than December 31 of even-numbered years, the required number of special voting deputies and at least 5 inspectors for each ward. The board of election commissioners shall appoint all first choice nominees for so long as positions are available, unless nonappointment is authorized under par. (e)
, and shall appoint other individuals in its discretion. The board of election commissioners may designate such alternates as it deems advisable.
In municipalities other than cities and villages located in counties having a population of more than 500,000, the committees organized under s. 8.17
from each of the 2 dominant parties under sub. (2)
shall submit a list containing at least as many names as there are needed appointees from that party. The list shall be submitted by the chairperson of each of the 2 committees to the mayor, president or chairperson of the municipality. If committees are organized in subdivisions of a city, the list shall be submitted through the chairperson of the city committee. If there is no municipal committee, the list shall be submitted by the chairperson of the county or legislative district committee. Except as provided in par. (c)
, only those persons submitted by the chairperson of each committee under s. 8.17
may act as election officials. The chairperson may designate any individual whose name is submitted as a first choice nominee. The list shall contain the signature of the chairperson and secretary of the submitting committee. In cities or villages located in counties having a population of more than 500,000, other than cities where there is a board of election commissioners, the aldermanic district or village committeeman or committeewoman for the ward or wards where each polling place is located, if there is one, shall submit a list containing at least as many names as there are needed appointees for inspector positions from the party represented by the committeeman or committeewoman. For appointments of special voting deputies under s. 6.875 (4)
and appointments of inspectors in cities and villages where there is no aldermanic district or village committeeman or committeewoman, nominations shall proceed in the same manner as in municipalities located in counties having a population of 500,000 or less. The list shall be submitted to the mayor or president. Except as provided in par. (c)
, only those persons whose names are submitted as provided in this paragraph may act as election officials. The committeeman or committeewoman may designate any individual whose name is submitted as a first choice nominee. The list shall contain the signature of the aldermanic district or village committeeman or committeewoman or the chairperson of the appropriate committee. Upon submission of each nominee's name, the governing body shall appoint each first choice nominee for so long as positions are available, unless nonappointment is authorized under par. (e)
, and shall appoint other nominees in its discretion. If any nominee is not appointed, the mayor, president or chairperson of the municipality shall immediately nominate another person from the appropriate lists submitted and continue until the necessary number of election officials from each party is achieved at that meeting.
For so long as nominees are made available by the political parties under this section, appointments may be made only from the lists of submitted nominees. If the lists are not submitted by November 30 of the year in which appointments are to be made, the board of election commissioners shall appoint, or the mayor, president or chairperson of a municipality shall nominate qualified persons whose names have not been submitted. If an insufficient number of nominees appears on the lists as of November 30, the board of election commissioners shall similarly appoint, or the mayor, president or chairperson shall similarly nominate sufficient individuals to fill the remaining vacancies. Any appointment which is made due to the lack of availability of names submitted under par. (b)
may be made without regard to party affiliation.
Notwithstanding pars. (a)
, the governing body or board of election commissioners of a municipality may make appointments of special voting deputies under this section to provide service in a community-based residential facility at any time after the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners adopts the procedures under s. 6.875
for use in a community-based residential facility located in the municipality.
Notwithstanding pars. (a)
, the governing body or board of election commissioners of a municipality may make appointments of special voting deputies under this section to provide service in a retirement home at any time after the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners adopts the procedures under s. 6.875
for use in a retirement home located in the municipality.
A party committee or aldermanic district or village committeeman or committeewoman under s. 8.17
may submit additional names for inclusion in its list of nominations under this section at any time for the purpose of filling vacancies that occur during a term of office. However, an appointment need at no time be delayed because of the lack of availability of party nominees.
If an appointing authority believes that, for good cause, it should not appoint an individual whose name is submitted as a first choice nominee under par. (b)
, it may request the board to authorize nonappointment. The board may permit nonappointment of an individual for cause demonstrated by an appointing authority.
(5) Oath of office.
Within 5 days after appointment of the election officials the municipal clerk shall give each appointee notice. The appointees shall file the official oath with the municipal clerk within 10 days after the mailing of the notice. Appointees to fill vacancies or any other election official who has not filed the oath, before receiving any ballots, shall sign the oath and return it to the municipal clerk. An inspector, after taking the oath, may administer any oath required to conduct an election.
The appointed election officials shall hold office for 2 years and until their successors are appointed and qualified. They shall serve at every election held in their ward during their term of office.
Prior to the first election following the appointment of the inspectors, the inspectors at each polling place shall elect one of their number to act as chief inspector. The chief inspector shall hold the position for the remainder of the term, except that whenever wards are combined or separated under s. 5.15 (6) (b)
, the inspectors shall elect a new chief inspector. If a vacancy occurs in the position of chief inspector, the municipal clerk shall appoint one of the other inspectors to fill the vacancy.
If any election official lacks the qualifications set forth in this section, fails to attend training sessions required under s. 7.15 (1) (e)
unless excused therefrom, is guilty of neglecting his or her official duties or commits official misconduct, the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners shall summarily remove the official from office and the vacancy shall be filled under sub. (2) (b)
History: 1971 c. 242
; 1971 c. 304
s. 29 (1)
, (2); 1971 c. 336
; 1973 c. 280
; 1975 c. 93
; 1977 c. 394
; 1979 c. 89
; 1983 a. 183
; 1985 a. 131
; 1985 a. 304
; 1987 a. 391
; 1989 a. 192
; 1995 a. 16
; 1997 a. 127
Change of election official numbers.
Notwithstanding s. 7.30 (1)
, the governing body or board of election commissioners of any municipality may by resolution reduce the number of election officials and modify or rescind any similar previous action. No such action may reduce the number of officials at a polling place to less than 3.
History: 1977 c. 427
; 1979 c. 260
; Stats. 1979 s. 7.32; 1983 a. 484
; 1985 a. 304
Service as an election official. 7.33(2)
Service as an election official under this chapter shall be mandatory upon all qualified electors appointed, during the full 2-year term, after which they shall be exempt from further service as an election official, under this chapter, until 3 terms of 2 years each have elapsed. Municipal clerks may grant exemptions from service at any time.
Every employer shall grant to each employe who is appointed to serve as an election official a leave of absence for the entire 24-hour period of each election day in which the official serves in his or her official capacity. An employe who serves as an election official shall provide his or her employer with at least 7 days' notice of application for a leave. The municipal clerk shall verify appointments upon request of any employer.
Each state agency shall, upon proper application under sub. (3)
, permit each of its employes to serve as an election official without loss of fringe benefits or seniority privileges earned for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (3)
, and without loss of pay for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (3)
except as provided in sub. (5)
, and shall not impose any other penalty upon an employe who serves as an election official.
Any employe of the state who obtains a paid leave of absence in order to serve as an election official under s. 7.30
shall certify in writing to the head of the state agency by which he or she is employed the amount of compensation that the employe receives for such service. Upon receipt of the certification, the head of the state agency shall deduct that amount from the employe's pay earned for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (2)
when the employe is on a paid leave of absence.
Each employer other than a state agency shall, upon proper application under sub. (3)
, permit each of its employes to serve as an election official without loss of fringe benefits or seniority privileges earned for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (3)
, and shall not impose any other penalty upon an employe who serves as an election official, except the employer need not pay wages to an employe for time not worked while the employe is serving as an election official.
Chief inspector's duties.
Subject to the supervision of the municipal clerk or executive director of the board of election commissioners, the chief inspector shall direct the conduct of activities assigned to the inspectors at the polling place. The chief inspector shall refer any question as to the proper procedure to be employed in carrying out the inspectors' duties to the municipal clerk or executive director.
History: 1985 a. 304
Inspectors' duties. 7.37(1)(1)
Adjourn to another location.
Whenever it becomes impossible or inconvenient to hold an election at the designated location, the inspectors, after assembling at or as near the designated polling place as practicable and before receiving any votes, may adjourn to the nearest convenient place for holding the election. The inspectors shall make a proclamation of the move and a law enforcement officer or other proper person designated by the municipal clerk shall be stationed at or as near as possible to the place where the adjournment was made, to notify all electors of the place to which the election adjourned. At the new location the inspectors shall immediately proceed with the election.
(2) Preserve order.
The inspectors shall possess full authority to maintain order and to enforce obedience to their lawful commands during the election and the canvass of the votes. They shall permit only one person in a voting booth at a time and shall prevent any person from taking notice of how another person has voted, except when assistance is given under s. 6.82
. They shall enforce s. 5.35 (5)
and prevent electioneering from taking place in violation of s. 12.03
. If any person refuses to obey the lawful commands of an inspector, or is disorderly in the presence or hearing of the inspectors, interrupts or disturbs the proceedings, they may order any law enforcement officer to remove the person from the voting area or to take the person into custody.
(3) Check ballot boxes.
Immediately before the proclamation that the polls are open the election inspectors shall open each ballot box in the presence of the people assembled there, turn the boxes upside down so as to empty them of everything that may be inside and then lock them. The ballot boxes shall remain locked and shall not be reopened until the polls close for the purpose of counting the ballots therein.
(4) Balloting procedure.
At polling places which utilize paper ballots or electronic voting systems in which ballots are distributed to electors, 2 inspectors shall be assigned to take charge of the official ballots. They shall write their initials on the back of each ballot and deliver to each elector as he or she enters the voting booth one ballot properly endorsed by each of them. Where paper ballots are used, the inspectors shall fold each ballot in the proper manner to be deposited before delivering it to the elector. If asked, inspectors may instruct any elector as to the proper manner of marking or punching the ballot, but they may not give advice, suggestions, express any preferences or make any requests as to the person for whom, the question on which or the ballot on which the elector shall vote.
(5) Improper conduct.
Any election official who intentionally fails to properly indorse a ballot or who intentionally gives an elector a ballot not properly indorsed shall be removed as an election official.
(6) Attach stickers.
Whenever a vacancy occurs in a nomination after the ballots have been printed and stickers are provided under s. 7.38 (3)
or 8.35 (2)
, the inspectors shall, at the direction of the municipal clerk, properly apply the stickers to the official ballots before endorsement.