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 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.
12.04(1)(c) (c) "Residential property" means property occupied or suitable to be occupied for residential purposes and property abutting that property for which the owner or renter is responsible for the maintenance or care. If property is utilized for both residential and nonresidential purposes, "residential property" means only the portion of the property occupied or suitable to be occupied for residential purposes.
12.04(2) (2) Except as provided in ss. 12.03 or 12.035 or as restricted under sub. (4), any individual may place a sign containing a political message upon residential property owned or occupied by that individual during an election campaign period.
12.04(3) (3) Except as provided in sub. (4), no county or municipality may regulate the size, shape, placement or content of any sign containing a political message placed upon residential property during an election campaign period.
12.04(4) (4)
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated though 2013 Wis. Act 380 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before June 30, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after July 1, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 7-1-14)