2005 WISCONSIN ACT 451
An Act to repeal 5.02 (6m), 6.28 (3), 6.55 (7), 6.56 (2), 6.87 (3) (c) and 12.13 (4); to renumber 6.36 (2) (c) 1. a. and b.; to renumber and amend 5.90, 6.22 (4), 6.36 (2) (c) 1. (intro.), 6.36 (2) (c) 2., 6.55 (3) and 7.30 (1); to amend 5.35 (6) (a) 4a., 6.15 (2) (d) 1r., 6.15 (3), 6.15 (4) (a) to (d), 6.15 (6), 6.21, 6.22 (1) (intro.), 6.22 (2) (b), 6.22 (5), 6.22 (6), 6.24 (4) (d), 6.24 (6), 6.26 (2) (c), 6.26 (3), 6.275 (1) (c), 6.276 (1), 6.28 (1), 6.29 (1), 6.29 (2) (a), 6.29 (2) (b), 6.32 (title), (1) and (4), 6.33 (1), 6.33 (2) (a), 6.36 (1) (a), 6.36 (2) (a), 6.50 (3), 6.55 (2) (a) 1. (form), 6.55 (2) (b), 6.55 (2) (c) 1., 6.56 (1), 6.56 (3), 6.56 (4), 6.56 (5), 6.79 (2) (d), 6.79 (4), 6.82 (1) (a), 6.86 (1) (a) (intro.), 6.86 (1) (a) 2., 6.86 (1) (b), 6.86 (3) (a) 2., 6.86 (3) (c), 6.865 (1), 6.865 (3), 6.87 (2) (form), 6.87 (3) (a) and (b), 6.87 (3) (d), 6.87 (4), 6.87 (6), 6.87 (9), 6.875 (3), 6.875 (4) and (6), 6.88 (1) to (3), 6.93, 6.935, 6.97 (1), 6.97 (2), 7.03 (1) (a), 7.08 (1) (c), 7.08 (8) (title), 7.10 (9), 7.15 (1) (e), 7.15 (1) (j), 7.15 (11), 7.23 (1) (a), 7.30 (2) (a), 7.30 (2) (am), 7.30 (2) (b), 7.30 (2) (c), 7.30 (4) (a), 7.30 (4) (b) (intro.), 7.30 (4) (b) 1., 7.30 (4) (b) 2., 7.30 (4) (c), 7.30 (6) (a), 7.30 (6) (b), 7.30 (6) (c), 7.31 (1), 7.31 (4), 7.32, 7.33 (3), 7.33 (4), 7.33 (6), 7.37 (2), 7.41, 7.51 (1), 7.51 (2) (c), 7.51 (2) (e), 7.51 (3) (d), 7.51 (4) (a), 7.51 (5) (a), 7.51 (5) (b), 7.53 (1), 7.53 (2) (a), 7.53 (2) (d), 7.60 (2), 7.60 (5) (a), 7.70 (3) (a), 8.10 (3) (intro.), 8.15 (4) (a), 8.20 (3), 8.37, 8.40 (2), 9.01 (1) (a), 9.01 (1) (ag) 1., 1m. and 2., 9.01 (1) (b) (intro.), 9.01 (10), 9.10 (1) (b), 9.10 (1) (c) 2., 9.10 (2) (d), 9.10 (2) (em) 2., 10.01 (2) (e), 10.02 (3) (a), 11.25 (2) (b), 12.03 (title) and (1), 12.04 (2), 12.07 (2), 12.60 (1) (b), 12.60 (1) (c), 12.60 (1) (d), 17.29, 302.117, 880.33 (9), 973.09 (4m) and 973.176 (2); to repeal and recreate 12.03 (2) and 12.09; and to create 5.02 (16g), 5.35 (6) (c), 5.68 (3m), 5.90 (2) and (3), 6.22 (4) (c), 6.22 (4) (f) to (h), 6.221, 6.26 (2) (cm), 6.26 (4), 6.28 (4), 6.29 (2) (am), 6.34, 6.36 (5), 6.36 (6), 6.55 (2) (cs), 6.55 (3) (b), 6.56 (3m), 6.56 (7), 6.79 (2) (dm), 6.855, 6.86 (1) (a) 6., 6.86 (1) (ac), 6.86 (1) (c), 6.86 (2m), 6.865 (3m), 6.875 (7), 6.88 (3) (c), 7.08 (9), 7.10 (1) (d), 7.15 (1) (L), 7.15 (1m), 7.15 (2m), 7.23 (1) (am), 7.30 (1) (b), 7.30 (6) (am), 7.315, 7.37 (13), 7.41 (5), 7.51 (5) (a) 5., 7.52, 7.53 (2) (a) 3., 7.53 (2m), 9.01 (1) (am), 9.01 (1) (b) 8s., 11.65, 12.035, 12.13 (3) (ze), 301.03 (3a), 301.03 (20) and 343.11 (2m) of the statutes; relating to: administration of elections; authorization for registrants under the campaign finance law to make donations to charitable organizations or the common school fund from campaign treasuries; providing exemptions from and extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures; granting rule-making authority; and providing penalties.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:
Joint Legislative Council prefatory note: This bill was prepared for the Joint Legislative Council's Special Committee on Election Law Review. The bill makes numerous modifications to the election laws, as described below.
Forms of Identification Required to Register to Vote
Beginning in the spring of 2006, all voters, with limited exceptions, will need to be registered before they are allowed to vote. Under current law, an elector may register in person or by mail. Generally, registration must be completed by a certain time before election day. However, a person may register in person on election day at the polls, or after the official close of registration in person in the office of the municipal clerk up until 5 p.m. or the close of business, whichever is later, on the day before the election.
A person who registers to vote at the polls on election day or in person in the municipal clerk's office after the official close of registration must show proof of residence. A document constitutes acceptable proof of residence if it includes the person's current and complete name and a current and complete residential address. The statutes provide a list of examples of documents that constitute acceptable proof of residence if they contain the person's name and address. The statutory list, which is not exhaustive, is set forth below:
1. An operator's license issued under ch. 343, stats. (i.e., a Wisconsin driver's license).
2. An identification card issued under s. 343.50, stats. (i.e., a Wisconsin identification card).
3. Any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit or by an employer in the normal course of business, but not including a business card.
4. A credit card or plate.
5. A library card.
6. A check-cashing or courtesy card issued by a merchant in the normal course of business.
7. A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
8. A residential lease which is effective for a period that includes election day.
9. A university, college, or technical institute fee card.
10. A university, college, or technical institute identification card.
11. An airplane pilot's license.
12. A gas, electric, or telephone service statement for the period commencing not earlier than 90 days before election day.
A person who is required to provide proof of residence under current law but who is unable to provide such proof may have his or her registration information corroborated by another elector who resides in the same municipality. The corroborating elector must then provide proof of his or her residence. In general, under current law, other persons who register to vote need not provide proof of residence.
Under current law, pursuant to requirements of the Federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), a person who registers to vote by mail and who has never voted in a federal election in his or her municipality (until December 31, 2005) or in the state (effective January 1, 2006) must present certain identification before being allowed to cast a ballot. A person who fails to do so may cast a provisional ballot and provide the identification later. The identification required under current law is: (1) a current and valid piece of identification containing a photograph of the person or, for an absentee voter, a copy of a current and valid piece of identification containing a photograph of the person; or (2) a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or a check or other document issued by a unit of government that shows the current name and address of the person.
The bill establishes one uniform list of documents, any one of which may be used as proof of residence for registration or voting purposes, so long as the document contains the full name and residential address of the individual. The list created by the bill is as follows:
1. A current and valid Wisconsin driver's license.
2. A current and valid Wisconsin identification card.
3. Any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit.
4. An identification card issued by an employer in the normal course of business and bearing a photograph of the card holder, but not including a business card.
5. A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
6. A residential lease, unless the person registered to vote by mail.
7. A university, college, or technical college fee or identification card bearing a photograph of the card holder.
8. A utility bill for the period commencing not earlier than 90 days before election day.
9. A bank statement.
10. A paycheck.
11. A check or other document issued by a unit of government.
The bill provides that a university, college, or technical college fee or identification card which does not contain the address of the student bearing the card may still be considered acceptable proof of residence if the university, college, or technical college that issued the card provides to the municipal clerk before the election a certified and current list of students who reside in housing sponsored by the university, college, or technical college showing the current address of the students and if the poll worker verifies that the student presenting the card is included on the list.
Deadline for Registration
Under current law, registration for any election must close at 5 p.m. on the second Wednesday preceding the election. Registration may be accepted after this deadline if the municipal clerk determines that the registration list can be revised to incorporate the registration in time for the election. A person may also register to vote after the official date for the close of registration. Generally, a person may register late by filing with the municipal clerk a registration form completed by the person and acceptable proof of residence or corroboration of residence by one other elector of the municipality. The registration form must be filed in person no later than 5 p.m. or the close of business, whichever is later, on the day before the election. Unless the clerk determines that the registration list can be updated in time for the election, the municipal clerk must issue to the late-registering person a certificate addressed to the inspectors of the proper ward directing that the elector be permitted to vote. The certificate must be presented by the person to the inspectors when he or she arrives at the polling place.
The bill changes the registration deadline from the 2nd Wednesday preceding the election to the 3rd Wednesday preceding the election. Under the bill, registration after this deadline is limited to persons registering in person in the office of the municipal clerk, persons registering at the polls on election day, and hospitalized persons registering via an agent.
Locations for Voter Registration; "Roving" Special Registration Deputies
Under current law, individuals may register to vote at the office of the municipal clerk, at other locations designated by the clerk, at high schools, and at the register of deeds office. In addition, current law authorizes the municipal clerk and the elections board to appoint special registration deputies for the purpose of registering electors of a municipality anywhere throughout the municipality—the so-called "roving registration deputies". Current law also authorizes the appointment of special registration deputies to assist in registering voters at the polls on election day and requires the appointment of special registration deputies at other locations designated for registration by the municipal clerk.
The bill requires "roving" special registration deputies to be trained and to print and sign their names on all registration forms they accept. In addition, the bill subjects all registration forms accepted by such deputies to a letter or postcard audit by the municipal clerk. Under the bill, the municipal clerk and the elections board must maintain a record of the names and addresses of all individuals appointed by the clerk or board as "roving" special registration deputies.
The bill also creates an exemption from requiring the clerk to appoint special registration deputies for registration locations established by the municipal clerk when the clerk and deputy clerks can sufficiently staff the locations. In addition, the bill eliminates the statutory requirement that registration be available at the office of the register of deeds and instead requires that registration be available at the office of the county clerk.
Prohibition on Certain Payment for Voter Registration
The bill prohibits any person from compensating any person who obtains voter registrations at a rate that varies in relation to the number of voter registrations obtained. Violators are guilty of a misdemeanor and are subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both, for each offense.
Verification of Pre-Election Voter Registration
Under current law, when a municipal clerk receives a voter registration form by mail, the clerk must examine the form for sufficiency. If the form is insufficient to accomplish registration or if the clerk knows or has reliable information that the proposed elector is not qualified, the clerk must notify the proposed elector and request that the elector appear at the clerk's office or other registration center to complete a proper registration or substantiate the information presented. Similarly, if the form is submitted after the close of registration, the clerk must attempt to notify the elector that registration may be completed in the clerk's office or at the polls on election day.
Under current law, if the form is sufficient and the clerk has no reliable information to believe that the proposed elector is not qualified, the clerk must enter the person's name on the registration list and transmit a first class letter or postcard to the registrant identifying the registrant's proper ward or aldermanic district and polling place. If the letter or postcard is returned, the clerk must change the registrant's status to ineligible.
The bill specifies that the clerk must mail the letter or postcard within 10 days of receiving the registration.
Fee for Copy of Registration List
Under current law, the fee for a copy of a public record may not exceed the actual, necessary, and direct cost of reproduction, unless a fee is otherwise specifically established or authorized to be established by law.
The bill directs the elections board to establish a fee for receiving a copy of the statewide voter registration list. The fee must be established by rule after consultation with county and municipal election officials. The amount of the fee must be set to cover the cost of reproduction and the cost of maintaining the list. The rules must also specify how revenues from the fees will be shared between the state and municipalities (or counties if they perform registration functions on behalf of municipalities). The bill also authorizes the board to promulgate emergency rules to be in effect until permanent rules are promulgated.
Same-Day Voter Registration and Double Voting Audits by Elections Board
Under current law, after each election the municipal clerk receives a list of all electors who registered to vote on election day. Upon receipt of the list, the clerk is required to make an audit of all such electors. The audit is to be made by 1st class postcard, which is to be marked in such a way so that it will be returned to the clerk if the elector named on the card does not reside at the address given on the postcard. If the postcard is returned undelivered, the clerk is required to change the status of the elector on the registration list from eligible to ineligible and mail the elector a notice of the change in status and provide the name to the district attorney for the county where the polling place is located. Also under current law, the municipal clerk must determine if any elector appears to have voted more than once and must attempt to contact each such elector.
The bill authorizes the state elections board to perform these audit functions in lieu of the municipal clerk.
Out-of-State Driver's License Holders
This bill provides that whenever an elector registers to vote in the general election after the close of registration, and the elector presents a valid driver's license issued by another state, the registering official must record the license number, issuing state, and expiration date of any license presented. The information would not be available for general public inspection. In addition, the bill requires the elections board, following each general election, to contact the chief election official in each other state that has issued a valid driver's license to an elector presenting that license who voted in the election and to inquire whether the elector had voted in that election in that state.
Currently, there are no such requirements,