CHAPTER 12
PROHIBITED ELECTION PRACTICES
12.01   Definitions.
12.02   Construction.
12.03   Campaigning restricted.
12.035   Posting and distribution of election-related material.
12.04   Communication of political messages.
12.05   False representations affecting elections.
12.07   Election restrictions on employers.
12.08   Denial of government benefits.
12.09   Election threats.
12.11   Election bribery.
12.13   Election fraud.
12.60   Penalties.
Ch. 12 Note NOTE: 2005 Wis. Act 451, which made major revisions to the election laws, including to Chapter 12, contains an extensive prefatory note explaining the changes.
Ch. 12 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See definitions in s. 5.02.
12.01 12.01 Definitions. The definitions given under s. 11.01 [s. 11.0101] apply to this chapter, except as follows:
12.01(1) (1) "Candidate" includes a candidate for national office.
12.01(2) (2) "Commission" means the elections commission.
Effective date note NOTE: This section is shown as affected eff. 6-30-16 by 2015 Wis. Act 118. Prior to 6-30-16 it reads as follows. The correct cross-reference is shown in brackets. Corrective legislation is pending.
Effective date text 12.01Definitions. The definitions given under s. 11.01 [s. 11.0101] apply to this chapter, except that a "candidate" includes candidates for national office.
12.02 12.02 Construction. In this chapter, criminal intent shall be construed in accordance with s. 939.23.
12.02 History History: 1977 c. 427.
12.03 12.03 Campaigning restricted.
12.03(1) (1) No election official may engage in electioneering on election day. No municipal clerk or employee of the clerk may engage in electioneering in the clerk's office or at the alternate site under s. 6.855 during the hours that ballots may be cast at those locations.
12.03(2) (2)
12.03(2)(a)1.1. No person may engage in electioneering during polling hours on election day at a polling place.
12.03(2)(a)2. 2. No person may engage in electioneering in the municipal clerk's office or at an alternate site under s. 6.855 during the hours that absentee ballots may be cast.
12.03(2)(b)1.1. No person may engage in electioneering during polling hours on any public property on election day within 100 feet of an entrance to a building containing a polling place.
12.03(2)(b)2. 2. No person may engage in electioneering during the hours that absentee ballots may be cast on any public property within 100 feet of an entrance to a building containing the municipal clerk's office or an alternate site under s. 6.855.
12.03(2)(b)3. 3. No person may engage in electioneering within 100 feet of an entrance to or within a qualified retirement home or residential care facility while special voting deputies are present at the home or facility under s. 6.875 (6).
12.03(2)(d) (d) This subsection does not apply to the placement of any material on the bumper of a motor vehicle that is parked or operated at a place and time where electioneering is prohibited under this subsection.
12.03(3) (3) A municipal clerk, election inspector or law enforcement officer may remove posters or other advertising which is placed in violation of this section.
12.03(4) (4) In this section, "electioneering" means any activity which is intended to influence voting at an election.
12.03 Annotation Violators may not be deprived of the right to vote, although penalties may follow. Constitutional issues are discussed. 61 Atty. Gen. 441.
12.035 12.035 Posting and distribution of election-related material.
12.035(1)(1) In this section, "election-related material" means any written matter which describes, or purports to describe, the rights or responsibilities of individuals voting or registering to vote at a polling place or voting an absentee ballot at the office of the municipal clerk or an alternate site under s. 6.855.
12.035(2) (2) The legislature finds that posting or distributing election-related material at the polling place, at locations where absentee ballots may be cast, or near the entrance to such locations when voting is taking place may mislead and confuse electors about their rights and responsibilities regarding the exercise of the franchise and tends to disrupt the flow of voting activities at such locations. The legislature finds that the restrictions imposed by this section on the posting or distribution of election-related material are necessary to protect the compelling governmental interest in orderly and fair elections.
12.035(3) (3)
12.035(3)(a)(a) No person may post or distribute any election-related material during polling hours on election day at a polling place.
12.035(3)(b) (b) No person may post or distribute any election-related material during polling hours on any public property on election day within 100 feet of an entrance to a building containing a polling place.
12.035(3)(c) (c) No person may post or distribute any election-related material at the office of the municipal clerk or at an alternate site under s. 6.855 during hours that absentee ballots may be cast.
12.035(3)(d) (d) No person may post or distribute election-related material during the hours that absentee ballots may be cast on any public property within 100 feet of an entrance to a building containing the office of the municipal clerk or an alternate site under s. 6.855.
12.035(4) (4)Subsection (3) does not apply to any of the following:
12.035(4)(a) (a) The posting or distribution of election-related material posted or distributed by the municipal clerk or other election officials.
12.035(4)(b) (b) The placement of any material on the bumper of a motor vehicle located on public property.
12.035(5) (5) A municipal clerk, election inspector, or law enforcement officer may remove election-related material posted in violation of sub. (3) and may confiscate election-related material distributed in violation of sub. (3).
12.035 History History: 2005 a. 451.
12.04 12.04 Communication of political messages.
12.04(1) (1) In this section:
12.04(1)(a) (a) "Election campaign period" means:
12.04(1)(a)1. 1. In the case of an election for office, the period beginning on the first day for circulation of nomination papers by candidates, or the first day on which candidates would circulate nomination papers were papers to be required, and ending on the day of the election.
12.04(1)(a)2. 2. In the case of a referendum, the period beginning on the day on which the question to be voted upon is submitted to the electorate and ending on the day on which the referendum is held.
12.04(1)(b) (b) "Political message" means a message intended for a political purpose or a message which pertains to an issue of public policy of possible concern to the electorate, but does not include a message intended solely for a commercial purpose.
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2013-14 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2015 Wis. Act 392 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before May 10, 2016. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after May 10, 2016 are designated by NOTES. (Published 5-10-16)