2003 - 2004 LEGISLATURE
March 18, 2003 - Introduced by Senators Darling, Stepp, Leibham, S. Fitzgerald,
Lazich, Reynolds, Schultz and Cowles, cosponsored by Representatives
Ladwig, Jensen, Seratti, LeMahieu, J. Wood, Jeskewitz, Stone, Gunderson,
Krawczyk, Montgomery, M. Lehman, Owens, Vrakas, Bies, Hahn, Albers,
McCormick, Grothman, Nass and Ott. Referred to Committee on Education,
Ethics and Elections.
1An Act to renumber and amend
6.87 (3) (b); and to amend
6.22 (2) (b), 6.24 2
(4) (d), 6.87 (2) (form), 6.87 (3) (a), 6.87 (3) (c) and (d) and 6.87 (4) of the statutes; 3relating to: mailing, transmittal, and witnessing of absentee ballots.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Currently, each municipal clerk and board of election commissioners is directed
to mail an absentee ballot requested by an elector to the residence of the elector
unless the elector specifies a different mailing address. However, no elector may
specify that an absentee ballot shall be mailed to the address of a candidate, political
party, or other campaign finance registrant. If a clerk or board is reliably informed
of a facsimile transmission number or electronic mail address where an eligible
elector who has applied for an absentee ballot is able to receive the ballot and there
may not be sufficient time before an election to send and receive the ballot through
the mail, the clerk or board may transmit the ballot to the elector at the facsimile
transmission number or electronic mail address.
This bill provides that a municipal clerk or board of election commissioners may
only mail an absentee ballot to the permanent or temporary residence of an absent
elector. Under the bill, if a clerk or board transmits an absentee ballot to an elector,
the clerk or board may only transmit the ballot to an address located at the
permanent or temporary residence of the elector.
Under current law, an elector who votes absentee must complete a certification
before a witness indicating that the elector is qualified to vote the absentee ballot and
that the elector has voted the absentee ballot in the manner prescribed by law.
This bill deletes the requirement that an elector voting absentee must complete
a certification before one witness and, instead, requires an elector to complete a
certification before two witnesses or swear an affidavit before a person who is
authorized to administer oaths.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
SB76, s. 1
6.22 (2) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) Notwithstanding s. 6.87 (4), a military elector shall make and 3
subscribe to the certification under s. 6.87 (2) before a witness who is an adult U.S.
4citizen 2 witnesses who are adult U.S. citizens
SB76, s. 2
6.24 (4) (d) of the statutes is amended to read:
(d) An overseas elector who is not registered may request both a 7
registration form and an absentee ballot at the same time, and the municipal clerk 8
shall send the ballot automatically if the registration form is received within the time 9
prescribed in s. 6.28 (1). The board shall prescribe a special certificate form for the 10
envelope in which the absentee ballot for overseas electors is contained, which shall 11
be substantially similar to that provided under s. 6.87 (2). Notwithstanding s. 6.87 12
(4), an overseas elector shall make and subscribe to the special certificate form before 13 a witness who is an adult U.S. citizen 2 witnesses who are adult U.S. citizens
SB76, s. 3
6.87 (2) (form) of the statutes is amended to read:
[STATE OF ....
County of ....]
[(name of foreign country and city or other jurisdictional unit)]
I, ...., certify subject to the penalties of s. 12.60 (1) (b), Wis. Stats., for false 2
statements, that I am a resident of the [.... ward of the] (town) (village) of ...., or of 3
the .... aldermanic district in the city of ...., residing at ....* in said city, the county 4
of ...., state of Wisconsin, and am entitled to vote in the (ward) (election district) at 5
the election to be held on ....; that I am not voting at any other location in this election; 6
that I am unable or unwilling to appear at the polling place in the (ward) (election 7
district) on election day or have changed my residence within the state from one ward 8
or election district to another within 10 days before the election. I certify that I 9
exhibited the enclosed ballot unmarked to the witness
, that I then in 10(his) (her) their
presence and in the presence of no other person marked the ballot 11
and enclosed and sealed the same in this envelope in such a manner that no one but 12
myself and any person rendering assistance under s. 6.87 (5), Wis. Stats., if I 13
requested assistance, could know how I voted.
Identification serial number, if any: ....
The witness (2 witnesses)
shall execute the following:
, the undersigned witness witnesses
, subject to the penalties of s. 12.60 (1) 18
(b), Wis. Stats., for false statements, certify that the above statements are true and 19
the voting procedure was executed as there stated. I am not Neither of us is
candidate for any office on the enclosed ballot (except in the case of an incumbent 21
municipal clerk). I We
did not solicit or advise the elector to vote for or against any 22
candidate or measure.
* — An elector who provides an identification serial number issued under s. 3
6.47 (3), Wis. Stats., need not provide a street address.
** — If this form is executed before 2 special voting deputies under s. 6.875 (6), 5
Wis. Stats., both deputies shall witness and sign.
SB76, s. 4
6.87 (3) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Except as authorized under par. (d) and as otherwise provided in 8
s. 6.875, the municipal clerk shall mail the absentee ballot postage prepaid for return 9
to the elector's permanent or temporary
residence unless otherwise of the elector, as 10
directed by the elector
, or shall deliver it to the elector personally at the clerk's office.
SB76, s. 5
6.87 (3) (b) of the statutes is renumbered 6.87 (3) (e) and amended 12
(e) No elector may direct that a ballot be sent to the address of a
14candidate, political party or other registrant under s. 11.05 unless the elector
15permanently or temporarily resides at that address.
Upon receipt of reliable 16
information that an address given by an elector is not eligible to receive ballots under 17
this paragraph, the municipal clerk shall refrain from sending mailing or
ballots to that address. Whenever possible, the municipal clerk shall 19
notify an elector if his or her ballot cannot be mailed or transmitted
to the address 20
directed by the elector.
SB76, s. 6
6.87 (3) (c) and (d) of the statutes are amended to read:
(c) If an elector's ballot is mailed to a location other than the elector's 23permanent
residence, it shall be prepaid for return when mailed within the United 24
States. If the ballot is delivered to the elector at the clerk's office, the ballot shall be 25
voted at the office and may not be removed therefrom.
(d) A municipal clerk of a municipality may, if the clerk is reliably informed by 2
an absent elector of a facsimile transmission number or electronic mail address 3located at the permanent or temporary residence of the elector
where the elector can 4
receive an absentee ballot, transmit a facsimile or electronic copy of the absent 5
elector's ballot to that elector in lieu of mailing under this subsection if, in the 6
judgment of the clerk, the time required to send the ballot through the mail may not 7
be sufficient to enable return of the ballot by the time provided under sub. (6). An 8
elector may receive an absentee ballot under this subsection only if the elector has 9
filed a valid application for the ballot under sub. (1). If the clerk transmits an 10
absentee ballot under this paragraph, the clerk shall also transmit a facsimile or 11
electronic copy of the text of the material that appears on the certificate envelope 12
prescribed in sub. (2), together with instructions prescribed by the board. The 13
instructions shall require the absent elector to make and subscribe to the 14
certification as required under sub. (4) and to enclose the absentee ballot in a 15
separate envelope contained within a larger envelope, that shall include the 16
completed certificate. The elector shall then mail the absentee ballot with postage 17
prepaid to the municipal clerk. An absentee ballot received under this paragraph 18
shall not be counted unless it is transmitted and
cast in the manner prescribed in this 19
paragraph and in accordance with the instructions provided by the board.
SB76, s. 7
6.87 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
Except as otherwise provided in s. 6.875, the elector voting absentee 22
shall make and subscribe to the certification before one witness 2 witnesses
. The 23
absent elector, in the presence of the witness 2 witnesses
, shall mark the ballot in a 24
manner that will not disclose how the elector's vote is cast. The elector shall then, 25
still in the presence of the witness 2 witnesses
, fold the ballots if they are paper
ballots so each is separate and so that the elector conceals the markings thereon and 2
deposit them in the proper envelope. If a consolidated ballot under s. 5.655 is used, 3
the elector shall fold the ballot if it is a paper ballot so that the elector conceals the 4
markings thereon and deposit the ballot in the proper envelope. The elector may 5
receive assistance under sub. (5). The return envelope shall then be sealed. The 6witness 2 witnesses
may not be a candidate. The envelope shall be mailed by the 7
elector, postage prepaid, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the 8
ballot or ballots. Failure to return an unused ballot in a primary does not invalidate 9
the ballot on which the elector's votes are cast. Return of more than one marked 10
ballot in a primary or return of a ballot prepared under s. 5.655 or a ballot used with 11
an electronic voting system in a primary which is marked for candidates of more than 12
one party invalidates all votes cast by the elector for candidates in the primary.
(1) The treatment of sections 6.22 (2) (b), 6.24 (4) (d) and 6.87 (2) (form) and (4) 15
of the statutes first applies to absentee ballots distributed to electors for the 2004 16
September primary election.