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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)
12.04(4)(a)(a) A county or municipality may regulate the size, shape or placement of any sign if such regulation is necessary to ensure traffic or pedestrian safety. A county or municipality may regulate the size, shape or placement of any sign having an electrical, mechanical or audio auxiliary.
12.04(4)(b) (b) In addition to regulation under par. (a), a municipality may regulate the size, shape or placement of a sign exceeding 11 square feet in area. This paragraph does not apply to a sign which is affixed to a permanent structure and does not extend beyond the perimeter of the structure, if the sign does not obstruct a window, door, fire escape, ventilation shaft or other area which is required by an applicable building code to remain unobstructed.
12.04(5) (5)
12.04(5)(a)(a) The renter of residential property may exercise the same right as the owner to place a sign upon the property under sub. (2) in any area of the property occupied exclusively by the renter. The terms of a lease or other agreement under which residential property is occupied shall control in determining whether property is occupied exclusively by a renter.
12.04(5)(b) (b) The owner of residential property may exercise the right granted under sub. (2) in any portion of the property not occupied exclusively by a renter.
12.04(6) (6) This section does not apply to signs prohibited from being erected under s. 84.30.
12.04 History History: 1985 a. 198; 1993 a. 246; 2005 a. 451; 2009 a. 173.
12.05 12.05 False representations affecting elections. No person may knowingly make or publish, or cause to be made or published, a false representation pertaining to a candidate or referendum which is intended or tends to affect voting at an election.
12.05 History History: 1973 c. 334; 1993 a. 175.
12.05 Annotation A violation of this section does not constitute defamation per se. Tatur v. Solsrud, 174 Wis. 2d 735, 498 N.W.2d 232 (1993).
12.07 12.07 Election restrictions on employers.
12.07(1) (1) No person may refuse an employee the privilege of time off for voting under s. 6.76 or subject an employee to a penalty therefor.
12.07(2) (2) No employer may refuse to allow an employee to serve as an election official under s. 7.30 or make any threats or offer any inducements of any kind to the employee for the purpose of preventing the employee from so serving.
12.07(3) (3) No employer or agent of an employer may distribute to any employee printed matter containing any threat, notice or information that if a particular ticket of a political party or organization or candidate is elected or any referendum question is adopted or rejected, work in the employer's place or establishment will cease, in whole or in part, or the place or establishment will be closed, or the salaries or wages of the employees will be reduced, or other threats intended to influence the political opinions or actions of the employees.
12.07(4) (4) No person may, directly or indirectly, cause any person to make a contribution or provide any service or other thing of value to or for the benefit of a candidate, political party or registrant under s. 11.05, with the purpose of influencing the election or nomination of a candidate to national, state or local office or the passage or defeat of a referendum by means of the denial or the threat of denial of any employment, position, work or promotion, or any compensation or other benefit of such employment, position or work, or by means of discharge, demotion or disciplinary action or the threat to impose a discharge, demotion or disciplinary action. This subsection does not apply to employment by a candidate, political party or other registrant under s. 11.05 in connection with a campaign or political party activities.
12.07 History History: 1973 c. 334; 1983 a. 484; 1991 a. 316; 2005 a. 451.
12.08 12.08 Denial of government benefits. No person may, directly or indirectly, cause any person to make a contribution or provide any service or other thing of value to or for the benefit of a candidate, political party or registrant under s. 11.05, with the purpose of influencing the election or nomination of a candidate to national, state or local office or the passage or defeat of a referendum by means of the denial or threat of denial of any payment or other benefit of a program established or funded in whole or in part by this state or any local governmental unit of this state, or a program which has applied for funding by this state or any local governmental unit of this state.
12.08 History History: 1983 a. 484; 1985 a. 304.
12.09 12.09 Election threats.
12.09(1)(1) No person may personally or through an agent make use of or threaten to make use of force, violence, or restraint in order to induce or compel any person to vote or refrain from voting at an election.
12.09(2) (2) No person may personally or through an agent, by abduction, duress, or any fraudulent device or contrivance, impede or prevent the free exercise of the franchise at an election.
12.09(3) (3) No person may personally or through an agent, by any act compel, induce, or prevail upon an elector either to vote or refrain from voting at any election for or against a particular candidate or referendum.
12.09 History History: 1973 c. 334; 1991 a. 316; 2005 a. 451.
12.11 12.11 Election bribery.
12.11(1)(1) In this section, "anything of value" includes any amount of money, or any object which has utility independent of any political message it contains and the value of which exceeds $1. The prohibitions of this section apply to the distribution of material printed at public expense and available for free distribution if such materials are accompanied by a political message.
12.11(1m) (1m) Any person who does any of the following violates this chapter:
12.11(1m)(a) (a) Offers, gives, lends or promises to give or lend, or endeavors to procure, anything of value, or any office or employment or any privilege or immunity to, or for, any elector, or to or for any other person, in order to induce any elector to:
12.11(1m)(a)1. 1. Go to or refrain from going to the polls.
12.11(1m)(a)2. 2. Vote or refrain from voting.
12.11(1m)(a)3. 3. Vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular person.
12.11(1m)(a)4. 4. Vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular referendum; or on account of any elector having done any of the above.
12.11(1m)(b) (b) Receives, agrees or contracts to receive or accept any money, gift, loan, valuable consideration, office or employment personally or for any other person, in consideration that the person or any elector will, so act or has so acted.
12.11(1m)(c) (c) Advances, pays or causes to be paid any money to or for the use of any person with the intent that such money or any part thereof will be used to bribe electors at any election.
12.11(2) (2) This section applies to any convention or meeting held for the purpose of nominating any candidate for any election, and to the signing of any nomination paper.
12.11(3) (3)
12.11(3)(a)(a) This section does not prohibit a candidate from publicly stating his or her preference for or support of any other candidate for any office to be voted for at the same election. A candidate for an office in which the person elected is charged with the duty of participating in the election or nomination of any person as a candidate for office is not prohibited from publicly stating or pledging his or her preference for or support of any person for such office or nomination.
12.11(3)(b) (b) This section does not apply to money paid or agreed to be paid for or on account of authorized legal expenses which were legitimately incurred at or concerning any election.
12.11(3)(c) (c) This section does not apply where an employer agrees that all or part of election day be given to its employees as a paid holiday, provided that such policy is made uniformly applicable to all similarly situated employees.
12.11(3)(d) (d) This section does not prohibit any person from using his or her own vehicle to transport electors to or from the polls without charge.
12.11(3)(e) (e) This section does not apply to any promise by a candidate to reduce public expenditures or taxes.
12.11 Annotation There are constitutional limits on the state's power to prohibit candidates from making promises in the course of an election campaign. Some promises are universally acknowledged as legitimate, indeed indispensable to decisionmaking in a democracy. Brown v. Hartlage, 456 U.S. 45 (1982).
12.13 12.13 Election fraud.
12.13(1)(1) Electors. Whoever intentionally does any of the following violates this chapter:
12.13(1)(a) (a) Votes at any election or meeting if that person does not have the necessary elector qualifications and residence requirements.
12.13(1)(b) (b) Falsely procures registration or makes false statements to the municipal clerk, board of election commissioners or any other election official whether or not under oath.
12.13(1)(c) (c) Registers as an elector in more than one place for the same election.
12.13(1)(d) (d) Impersonates a registered elector or poses as another person for the purpose of voting at an election.
12.13(1)(e) (e) Votes more than once in the same election.
12.13(1)(f) (f) Shows his or her marked ballot to any person or places a mark upon the ballot so it is identifiable as his or her ballot.
12.13(1)(g) (g) Procures an official ballot and neglects or refuses to cast or return it. This paragraph does not apply to persons who have applied for and received absentee ballots.
12.13(1)(h) (h) Procures, assists or advises someone to do any of the acts prohibited by this subsection.
12.13(2) (2)Election officials.
12.13(2)(a)(a) The willful neglect or refusal by an election official to perform any of the duties prescribed under chs. 5 to 12 is a violation of this chapter.
12.13(2)(b) (b) No election official may:
12.13(2)(b)1. 1. Observe how an elector has marked a ballot unless the official is requested to assist the elector; intentionally permit anyone not authorized to assist in the marking of a ballot to observe how a person is voting or has voted; or disclose to anyone how an elector voted other than as is necessary in the course of judicial proceedings.
12.13(2)(b)2. 2. Illegally issue, write, change or alter a ballot on election day.
12.13(2)(b)3. 3. Permit registration or receipt of a vote from a person who the official knows is not a legally qualified elector or who has refused after being challenged to make the oath or to properly answer the necessary questions pertaining to the requisite requirements and residence; or put into the ballot box a ballot other than the official's own or other one lawfully received.
12.13(2)(b)4. 4. Intentionally assist or cause to be made a false statement, canvass, certificate or return of the votes cast at any election.
12.13(2)(b)5. 5. Willfully alter or destroy a poll or registration list.
12.13(2)(b)6. 6. Intentionally permit or cause a voting machine, voting device or automatic tabulating equipment to fail to correctly register or record a vote cast thereon or inserted therein, or tamper with or disarrange the machine, device or equipment or any part or appliance thereof; cause or consent to the machine, device or automatic tabulating equipment being used for voting at an election with knowledge that it is out of order or is not perfectly set and adjusted so that it will correctly register or record all votes cast thereon or inserted therein; with the purpose of defrauding or deceiving any elector, cause doubt for what party, candidate or proposition a vote will be cast or cause the vote for one party, candidate or proposition to be cast so it appears to be cast for another; or remove, change or mutilate a ballot on a voting machine, device or a ballot to be inserted into automatic tabulating equipment, or do any similar act contrary to chs. 5 to 12.
12.13(2)(b)6m. 6m. Obtain an absentee ballot for voting in a qualified retirement home or residential care facility under s. 6.875 (6) and fail to return the ballot to the issuing officer.
Effective date note NOTE: Subd. 6m. is shown as amended eff. 5-1-14 by 2013 Wis. Act 159. Prior to 5-1-14 it reads:
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated though 2013 Wis. Act 200 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before April 18, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after April 18, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 4-18-14)