(7) Administrative meetings and conferences.
The board shall conduct regular information and training meetings at various locations in the state for county and municipal clerks and other election officials. Administrative meetings shall be designed to explain the election laws and the forms and rules of the board, to promote uniform procedures and to assure that clerks and other officials are made aware of the integrity and importance of the vote of each citizen. The board may conduct conferences relating to election laws, practice and procedure. The board may charge persons attending the administrative meetings and conferences for its costs incurred in conducting the meetings and conferences at a rate not exceeding the per capita cost incurred by the board.
The board has standing to commence or intervene in any civil action or proceeding for the purpose of enforcing the laws regulating the conduct of elections or election campaigns or ensuring their proper administration. If the board delegates authority to its legal counsel under sub. (1) (e)
to act in its stead, the legal counsel has standing to commence or intervene in such an action or proceeding.
(10) State election administration plan.
With the assistance of the election administration council and approval of the joint committee on finance as provided in this subsection, the board shall adopt and modify as necessary a state plan that meets the requirements of P.L. 107-252
to enable participation by this state in federal financial assistance programs authorized under that law. The board shall adopt the plan and any modifications only after publishing a class I notice under ch. 985
or posting on the Internet a statement describing the proposed plan or modification and receiving public comment thereon. After approval of the proposed plan or any modification of the plan by the board, the board shall submit the proposed plan or modification to the joint committee on finance for the approval of the committee. The board may adopt the proposed plan or modification only if the committee approves the proposed plan or modification.
(11) Aids to counties and municipalities.
From the appropriations under s. 20.511 (1) (t)
, the board may provide financial assistance to eligible counties and municipalities for election administration costs in accordance with the plan adopted under sub. (10)
. As a condition precedent to receipt of assistance under this subsection, the board shall enter into an agreement with the county or municipality receiving the assistance specifying the intended use of the assistance and shall ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement. Each agreement shall provide that if the federal government objects to the use of any assistance moneys provided to the county or municipality under the agreement, the county or municipality shall repay the amount of the assistance provided to the board.
(12) Voter education.
The board may conduct or prescribe requirements for educational programs to inform electors about voting procedures, voting rights, and voting technology. The board shall conduct an educational program for the purpose of educating electors who cast paper ballots, ballots that are counted at a central counting location, and absentee ballots of the effect of casting excess votes for a single office.
(13) Toll-free election information exchange. 5.05(13)(a)(a)
The board shall maintain one or more toll-free telephone lines for electors to report possible voting fraud and voting rights violations, to obtain general election information, and to access information concerning their registration status, current polling place locations, and other information relevant to voting in elections.
The board may maintain a free access system under which an elector who votes under s. 6.96
may ascertain current information concerning whether the elector's vote has been counted, and, if the vote will not be counted, the reason that it will not be counted.
(14) Information from county and municipal clerks.
The board may request information from county and municipal clerks relating to election administration, performance of electronic voting systems and voting machines, and use of paper ballots in elections.
(15) Registration list.
The board is responsible for the design and maintenance of the official registration list under s. 6.36
. The board shall require all municipalities to use the list in every election and may require any municipality to adhere to procedures established by the board for proper maintenance of the list.
History: 1973 c. 334
; 1975 c. 85
; 1977 c. 29
; 1977 c. 196
; 1977 c. 418
; 1979 c. 32
s. 92 (8)
; 1979 c. 89
; 1983 a. 27
; 1985 a. 303
; 1985 a. 304
; 1989 a. 31
; 1999 a. 182
; 2001 a. 109
; 2003 a. 35
; 2005 a. 177
; 2007 a. 1
; 2007 a. 20
See also GAB
, Wis. adm. code.
Notice to the district attorney, attorney general, or governor is not a prerequisite to a civil forfeiture under sub. (1) (c); notice pursuant to sub. (3) is required only as specified by s. 11.60 (4) or 11.61 (2). State Elections Board v. Hales, 149 Wis. 2d 306
, 440 N.W.2d 579
(Ct. App. 1989).
A party being investigated by the board is not entitled under sub. (1) (b) to attend and participate in all depositions conducted by the board. Notice to the party being investigated under sub. (1) (b) is limited to the board's exercise of its subpoena power and does not relate in any way to the conduct of depositions the board may wish to take. State ex rel. Block v. Circuit Court for Dane County, 2000 WI App 72, 234 Wis. 2d 183
, 610 N.W.2d 213
Government accountability candidate committee. 5.052(1)(1)
The government accountability candidate committee shall meet whenever a vacancy occurs in the membership of the board that requires a nomination to be submitted to the governor under s. 15.60 (2)
No person may be nominated by the committee unless the person receives the unanimous approval of the committee.
Except as provided in sub. (4)
, the committee shall submit at least the following number of nominations:
If a nominee dies or withdraws, or if a nomination of the governor is withdrawn by the governor or rejected by the senate, the committee shall submit an additional nominee to the governor.
History: 2007 a. 1
Duties of the legal counsel.
The board's legal counsel shall:
Whenever a vacancy occurs on the board, call a meeting of the government accountability candidate committee.
Assist the government accountability candidate committee in the performance of its functions.
History: 2007 a. 1
Election assistance commission standards board.
The administrator of the elections division of the board shall, in consultation with the board, appoint an individual to represent this state as a member of the federal election assistance commission standards board. The administrator shall also conduct and supervise a process for the selection of an election official by county and municipal clerks and boards of election commissioners to represent local election officials of this state as a member of the federal election assistance commission standards board. The administrator shall ensure that the members of the federal election assistance commission standards board representing this state shall at no time be members of the same political party. Upon appointment or election of any new member of the federal election assistance commission standards board representing this state, the administrator shall transmit a notice of that member's appointment or election to the officer or agency designated by federal law.
History: 2003 a. 265
; 2007 a. 1
Matching program with secretary of transportation.
The administrator of the elections division of the board shall enter into the agreement with the secretary of transportation specified under s. 85.61 (1)
to match personally identifiable information on the official registration list maintained by the board under s. 6.36 (1)
with personally identifiable information maintained by the department of transportation.
History: 2003 a. 265
; 2007 a. 1
Compliance review; appeal. 5.06(1)
Whenever any elector of a jurisdiction or district served by an election official believes that a decision or action of the official or the failure of the official to act with respect to any matter concerning nominations, qualifications of candidates, voting qualifications, including residence, ward division and numbering, recall, ballot preparation, election administration or conduct of elections is contrary to law, or the official has abused the discretion vested in him or her by law with respect to any such matter, the elector may file a written sworn complaint with the board requesting that the official be required to conform his or her conduct to the law, be restrained from taking any action inconsistent with the law or be required to correct any action or decision inconsistent with the law or any abuse of the discretion vested in him or her by law. The complaint shall set forth such facts as are within the knowledge of the complainant to show probable cause to believe that a violation of law or abuse of discretion has occurred or will occur. The complaint may be accompanied by relevant supporting documents. The board may conduct a hearing on the matter in the manner prescribed for treatment of contested cases under ch. 227
if it believes such action to be appropriate.
No person who is authorized to file a complaint under sub. (1)
, other than the attorney general or a district attorney, may commence an action or proceeding to test the validity of any decision, action or failure to act on the part of any election official with respect to any matter specified in sub. (1)
without first filing a complaint under sub. (1)
, nor prior to disposition of the complaint by the board. A complaint is deemed disposed of if the board fails to transmit an acknowledgment of receipt of the complaint within 5 business days from the date of its receipt or if the board concludes its investigation without a formal decision.
A complaint under this section shall be filed promptly so as not to prejudice the rights of any other party. In no case may a complaint relating to nominations, qualifications of candidates or ballot preparation be filed later than 10 days after the complainant knew or should have known that a violation of law or abuse of discretion occurred or was proposed to occur.
The board may, on its own motion, investigate and determine whether any election official, with respect to any matter concerning nominations, qualifications of candidates, voting qualifications, including residence, ward division and numbering, recall, ballot preparation, election administration or conduct of elections, has failed to comply with the law or abused the discretion vested in him or her by law or proposes to do so.
Upon receipt of a complaint under sub. (1)
, or upon its own motion, the board may order any election official to immediately transfer to its possession any original documents in the custody of the official which the board finds to be necessary and relevant to permit review of compliance with the laws concerning nominations, qualifications of candidates, ward division and numbering, recall or ballot preparation or the proper administration of such laws.
The board may, after such investigation as it deems appropriate, summarily decide the matter before it and, by order, require any election official to conform his or her conduct to the law, restrain an official from taking any action inconsistent with the law or require an official to correct any action or decision inconsistent with the law. The board shall immediately transmit a copy of the order to the official. An order issued under this subsection is effective immediately or at such later time as may be specified in the order.
The board may withdraw, modify or correct an order issued under sub. (6)
within a timely period if it finds such action to be appropriate.
Any election official or complainant who is aggrieved by an order issued under sub. (6)
may appeal the decision of the board to circuit court for the county where the official conducts business or the complainant resides no later than 30 days after issuance of the order. Pendency of an appeal does not stay the effect of an order unless the court so orders.
The court may not conduct a de novo proceeding with respect to any findings of fact or factual matters upon which the board has made a determination, or could have made a determination if the parties had properly presented the disputed matters to the board for its consideration. The court shall summarily hear and determine all contested issues of law and shall affirm, reverse or modify the determination of the board, according due weight to the experience, technical competence and specialized knowledge of the board, pursuant to the applicable standards for review of agency decisions under s. 227.57
This section does not apply to matters arising in connection with a recount under s. 9.01
The plaintiff's failure to comply with the method of review prescribed by this section deprived the circuit court of jurisdiction to hear the plaintiff's original action regarding election irregularities. Kuechmann v. LaCrosse School District, 170 Wis. 2d 218
, 487 N.W.2d 639
(Ct. App. 1992).
Compliance with federal Help America Vote Act. 5.061(1)(1)
Whenever any person believes that a violation of Title III of P.L. 107-252
has occurred, is occurring, or is proposed to occur with respect to an election for national office in this state, that person may file a written, verified complaint with the board.
If the board receives more than one complaint under sub. (1)
relating to the same subject matter, the board may consolidate the complaints for purposes of this section.
A complainant under sub. (1)
or any of the complainants in a consolidated complaint under sub. (2)
may request a hearing and the matter shall then be treated as a contested case under ch. 227
, except that the board shall make a final determination with respect to the merits of the complaint and issue a decision within 89 days of the time that the complaint or the earliest of any complaints was filed, unless the complainant, or each of any complainants whose complaints are consolidated, consents to a specified longer period.
If the board finds the complaint to be without merit, it shall issue a decision dismissing the complaint. If the board finds that the violation alleged in the complaint has occurred, is occurring, or is proposed to occur, the board shall order appropriate relief, except that the board shall not issue any order under this subsection affecting the right of any person to hold an elective office or affecting the canvass of an election on or after the date of that election.
History: 2003 a. 265
Action to compel compliance.
Whenever a violation of the laws regulating the conduct of elections or election campaigns occurs or is proposed to occur, the attorney general or the district attorney of the county where the violation occurs or is proposed to occur may sue for injunctive relief, a writ of mandamus or prohibition, or other such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to compel compliance with the law. No bond is required in such actions.
History: 1973 c. 334
; 1983 a. 484
; Stats. 1983 s. 5.07; 1985 a. 304
Petition for enforcement.
In addition to or in lieu of filing a complaint, any elector may file a verified petition alleging such facts as are within his or her knowledge to indicate that an election official has failed or is failing to comply with any law regulating the conduct of elections or election campaigns or proposes to act in a manner inconsistent with such a law, and requesting that an action be commenced for injunctive relief, a writ of mandamus or prohibition or other such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to compel compliance with the law. The petition shall be filed with the district attorney for the county having jurisdiction to prosecute the alleged failure to comply under s. 978.05 (1)
. The district attorney may then commence the action or dismiss the petition. If the district attorney declines to act upon the petition or if the district attorney fails to act upon the petition within 15 days of the date of filing, the petitioner may file the same petition with the attorney general, who may then commence the action.
History: 1983 a. 484
; 2007 a. 1
Petition for enforcement of voting rights.
The attorney general shall accept a verified petition from any person alleging failure to comply with section 2 of the federal voting rights act, 42 USC 1973
(a) and (b). The attorney general may commence an action or proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction on behalf of any elector of this state whose rights under 42 USC 1973
(a) and (b) are violated.
History: 1985 a. 312
Certification of documents.
Whenever the board is authorized or required to make a certification of any document in the custody of the board, and the authority to make the certification is lawfully delegated to the board's legal counsel, the legal counsel may, personally or through an employee authorized by the legal counsel, affix his or her signature by means of a stamp, machine impression, reproduction print or similar process. This section does not apply to certificates of election.
Although the names of the electors do not appear on the ballot and no reference is made to them, a vote for the president and vice president named on the ballot is a vote for the electors of the candidates for whom an elector's vote is cast. Under chs. 5
, all references to the presidential election, the casting of votes and the canvassing of votes for president, or for president and vice president, mean votes for them through their pledged presidential electors.
History: 1973 c. 334
; Stats. 1973 s. 5.10; 1977 c. 26
; 1979 c. 89
Division of municipalities into wards. 5.15(1)(a)1.1.
Every city, village, and town in this state shall by its common council or village or town board, respectively, be divided into wards as provided in this section, except as authorized in sub. (2)
. The boundaries of the wards established under this section, and the number assigned to each ward, are intended to be as permanent as possible, and to this end each ward shall when created contain a population at a convenient point within the applicable population range under sub. (2) (b)
, with due consideration for the known trends of population increase or decrease within that part of the municipality in which the ward is located.
Once established, the boundaries of each ward shall remain unchanged until a further decennial federal census of population indicates that the population of a ward is then above or below the applicable population range or until the ward boundaries are required to be changed to permit creation of supervisory or aldermanic districts of substantially equal population or to enhance the participation of members of a racial or language minority group in the political process and their ability to elect representatives of their choice.
If the population of a ward has increased above the maximum of its population range or if the population of a ward must be decreased for a reason specified in subd. 2.
, the ward shall be divided into 2 or more wards in compliance with sub. (2) (b)
. If the population of a ward has decreased below the minimum of its population range or if the population of a ward must be increased for a reason specified in subd. 2.
, the ward shall, if possible, be combined with an adjoining ward, or the underpopulated ward and one adjoining ward shall be combined and together subdivided into 2 or more wards in compliance with sub. (2)
Except as authorized in sub. (2) (a)
, within 60 days after the receipt of a tentative supervisory district plan and written statement, if any, from the county board of each county in which a municipality is located, the governing body of the municipality shall adjust its wards according to the schedule shown in sub. (2)
. All territory contained within the municipality, and only the territory so contained, on August 1 following the year of the federal decennial census shall be contained within a ward. Except as authorized in sub. (2)
, each ward shall consist of whole blocks. To suit the convenience of the voters residing therein each ward shall, as far as practicable, be kept compact and observe the community of interest of existing neighborhoods and other settlements. All territory within a ward shall be contiguous, except for island territory as defined in sub. (2) (f) 3.
Enactment or adoption of a division ordinance or resolution requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the governing body.
The wards established by municipal governing bodies under this section on the basis of the published results of each federal decennial census of population shall govern the adjustment of supervisory districts under s. 59.10 (2) (a)
and (3) (b)
and of aldermanic districts under s. 62.08 (1)
for the purpose of local elections beginning on January 1 of the 2nd year commencing after the year of the census until revised under this section on the basis of the results of the next decennial census of population unless adjusted under sub. (2) (f) 4.
, (6) (a)
, or unless adjusted, as a matter of statewide concern, in the enactment of legislative districts under article IV, section 3, of the constitution
on the basis of the most recent decennial census of population.
Every ward shall be wholly contained within a single county.
Except as required by par. (d)
, no city electing its common council at large in which the total population is less than 1,000, and no village or town in which the total population is less than 1,000 is required to be divided into wards under this section, but any such city, village or town may divide itself into wards if the creation of wards facilitates the administration of elections. No village or town located in a county having only one town is required to be divided into wards under this section.
In any city in which the population is at least 150,000, each ward shall contain not less than 1,000 nor more than 4,000 inhabitants.
In any city in which the population is at least 39,000 but less than 150,000, each ward shall contain not less than 800 nor more than 3,200 inhabitants.
In any city, village or town in which the population is at least 10,000 but less than 39,000, each ward shall contain not less than 600 nor more than 2,100 inhabitants.
In any city, village or town in which the population is less than 10,000, each ward shall contain not less than 300 nor more than 1,000 inhabitants.
Every city electing the members of its common council from aldermanic districts shall assemble the blocks wholly or partially contained within the city into wards that will enable the creation of aldermanic districts that are substantially equal in population.
If the population of a block exceeds the maximum population for a ward otherwise specified in this subsection, such block shall be constituted a ward by itself, except that if the population of a block substantially exceeds the population of proposed aldermanic districts in a city so that, if the block were to constitute an aldermanic district, the populations of the aldermanic districts in the city would not be substantially equal, the city shall divide the block to permit assembly into wards that will enable creation of aldermanic districts that are substantially equal in population.
Any division of blocks under this section shall be based on the best evidence available. In this paragraph, "best evidence" includes, but is not limited to, the population of the block and other information received from the U.S. bureau of the census and such data as number of housing units, utility connections and vehicle registrations or a special census conducted locally. For each ward so established, the population estimate shall be correlated with the results of the most recent federal decennial census, so that the total population reported for all wards in the municipality agrees with the census results.
Every municipality shall make a good faith effort to accommodate the tentative plan submitted by the county or counties in which it is located under s. 59.10 (2) (a)
or (3) (b) 1.
, and shall divide itself into wards in such a manner that will permit the creation of county supervisory districts in accordance with the population requirements for the plan specified in s. 59.10 (2) (a)
or (3) (b) 1.
Notwithstanding par. (b)
, if territory is detached from a city, village or town after adoption of a decennial ward plan, and the remaining portion of the ward to which it was attached falls below the prescribed minimum population for the applicable range, the remaining portion of the population may be constituted a ward by itself.
Notwithstanding par. (b)
, any city, village or town may establish a ward below the prescribed minimum population for the applicable range whenever the proposed ward is established under par. (a)
or whenever the proposed ward contains solely:
That part of a city or village situated in a county other than the county in which the major part of the municipality is located.
That part of a city, village or town belonging to a school district other than the school district to which the major part of the municipality belongs.
Island territory containing a resident population. In this subdivision, "island territory" means territory surrounded by water, or noncontiguous territory which is separated by the territory of another municipality or by water, or both, from the major part of the municipality to which it belongs.
New territory which becomes a part of a city, village or town after the adoption of a decennial ward plan.
If a block is affected by an annexation or detachment which establishes a municipal boundary that subdivides the block, the municipalities in which the block is contained shall incorporate only the portion of the block contained within their boundaries in their ward plans.