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 nominees as there are inspectors from that party for each of the voting wards in the aldermanic district. 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, 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 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.
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 municipal clerk shall appoint one of the inspectors at each polling place to serve as chief inspector. No person may serve as chief inspector at any election who is not certified by the board under s. 7.31
at the time of the election. The chief inspector shall hold the position for the remainder of the term unless the inspector is removed by the clerk or the inspector ceases to be certified under s. 7.31
, except that whenever wards are combined or separated under s. 5.15 (6) (b)
, the municipal clerk shall appoint another inspector who is certified under s. 7.31
to serve as chief inspector at each polling place designated under s. 5.15 (6) (b)
. If a vacancy occurs in the position of chief inspector at any polling place, the municipal clerk shall appoint one of the other inspectors who is certified under s. 7.31
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
; 1999 a. 182
; 2001 a. 16
Training and certification of chief inspectors. 7.31(1)(1)
The board shall, by rule, prescribe requirements for certification of individuals to serve as chief inspectors. The requirements shall not include taking an examination.
No individual may serve as a chief inspector at a polling place in an election unless the individual is certified by the board to hold that office on the date of the election at which the individual serves.
The board shall, upon application, issue certificates to qualified individuals who meet the requirements to be certified as chief inspectors. Each certificate shall carry an expiration date.
The board shall require each individual to whom a certificate is issued under this section to meet requirements to maintain that certification. The board shall renew the certificate of any individual who requests renewal and who meets the requirements prescribed under this subsection.
The board shall conduct regular training programs to ensure that individuals who are certified by the board under this section are knowledgeable concerning their authority and responsibilities. The board shall pay all costs required to conduct the training programs from the appropriation under s. 20.510 (1) (bm)
History: 2001 a. 16
; 2003 a. 143
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 individuals 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 employee 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 employee 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.
Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, each local governmental unit, as defined in s. 16.97 (7)
, may, and each state agency shall, upon proper application under sub. (3)
, permit each of its employees 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)
, without loss of pay for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (3)
except as provided in sub. (5)
, and without any other penalty. For employees who are included in a collective bargaining unit for which a representative is recognized or certified under subch. V of ch. 111
, this subsection shall apply unless otherwise provided in a collective bargaining agreement.
Any employee of a local governmental unit, as defined in s. 16.97 (7)
, or state agency who obtains a paid leave of absence under sub. (4)
in order to serve as an election official under s. 7.30
shall certify in writing to the head of the local governmental unit or state agency by which he or she is employed the amount of compensation that the employee receives for such service. Upon receipt of the certification, the head of the local governmental unit or state agency shall deduct that amount from the employee's pay earned for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (2)
when the employee 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 employees 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 employee who serves as an election official, except the employer need not pay wages to an employee for time not worked while the employee 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 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 endorse a ballot or who intentionally gives an elector a ballot not properly endorsed 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
or 8.35 (2)
, the inspectors shall, at the direction of the municipal clerk, properly apply the stickers to the official ballots before endorsement.
(7) Poll lists.
Two inspectors shall be assigned to have charge of the poll lists at each election.
(8) Electronic voting systems.
Prior to the opening of the polling place, wherever electronic voting systems employing voting devices are used, the inspectors shall place the voting devices in position for voting and examine them to see that they are in proper working order.
(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
The requirement under sub. (4) that each ballot be initialed by 2 inspectors is directory, not mandatory, when the number of votes is equal to the number of electors. Roth v. LaFarge School District Board of Canvassers, 2001 WI App 221, 247 Wis. 2d 708
, 634 N.W.2d 882
Vacancies after nomination. 7.38(1)
Except as provided in sub. (4)
, 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 sub. (1)
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 reasonably limit the number of persons representing the same organization who are permitted to observe an election at the same time.
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
No individual exercising the right under sub. (1)
may view the confidential portion of a registration list maintained under s. 6.36 (4)
or a poll list maintained under s. 6.79 (6)
. However, the inspectors shall disclose to such an individual, upon request, the existence of such a list, the number of electors whose names appear on the list, and the number of those electors who have voted at any point in the proceedings. No such individual may view the certificate of an absent elector who obtains a confidential listing under s. 6.47 (2)
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 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 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 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 in the square to the right of a specific candidate's name or at the place designated on the ballot for marking 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 for a straight party vote.
A ballot cast without any marks or stickers may not be counted. A ballot without a mark at the top of a party column may be counted only for persons for whom marks 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 by the same or any other name for the same office, or omits placing a mark 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.