2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
November 14, 2017 - Introduced by Representatives Brandtjen, Bernier, Allen,
R. Brooks, Knodl, Kulp, Steffen, Tusler and Kooyenga, cosponsored by
Senators Craig, Carpenter and Stroebel. Referred to Committee on
Campaigns and Elections.
1An Act to renumber and amend
5.84 (1); and to create
5.84 (1) (b), 5.91 (19) 2
and subchapter VI of chapter 6 [precedes 6.981] of the statutes; relating to:
3using an electronic voting machine to cast a vote with an in-person absentee
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill authorizes a municipality to allow its electors to vote before election
day by using an electronic voting machine to cast an in-person absentee ballot. If
a municipality enacts an ordinance or adopts a resolution to implement this method,
and the Elections Commission certifies that the municipality is capable of
implementation, an elector may vote before election day at the municipal clerk's
office by completing his or her ballot and casting the ballot using an electronic voting
system. The period for this option is the same as for making applications for
in-person absentee ballots: beginning no earlier than the third Monday preceding
the election and ending no later than 7 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election.
The votes are not tabulated before election day, but the municipal clerk publishes the
daily tally of the total number of ballots cast before election day on the municipality's
Internet site. The current law that applies to voting on election day with regard to
election observers and assisting the disabled also applies to voting as provided under
The bill also requires the Elections Commission to certify electronic voting
systems that include a report function capable of reporting write-in votes by
scanning the ballots and electronically capturing the write-in votes.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
5.84 (1) of the statutes is renumbered 5.84 (1) (a) and amended to 2
(a) Where Except as provided in par. (b), where
any municipality 4
employs an electronic voting system which utilizes automatic tabulating equipment, 5
either at the polling place or at a central counting location, the municipal clerk shall, 6
on any day not more than 10 days prior to the election day on which the equipment 7
is to be utilized, have the equipment tested to ascertain that it will correctly count 8
the votes cast for all offices and on all measures. Public notice of the time and place 9
of the test shall be given by the clerk at least 48 hours prior to the test by publication 10
of a class 1 notice under ch. 985 in one or more newspapers published within the 11
municipality if a newspaper is published therein, otherwise in a newspaper of 12
general circulation therein. The test shall be open to the public. The test shall be 13
conducted by processing a preaudited group of ballots so marked as to record a 14
predetermined number of valid votes for each candidate and on each referendum. 15
The test shall include for each office one or more ballots which have votes in excess 16
of the number allowed by law and, for a partisan primary election, one or more ballots 17
which have votes cast for candidates of more than one recognized political party, in 18
order to test the ability of the automatic tabulating equipment to reject such votes. 19
If any error is detected, the municipal clerk shall ascertain the cause and correct the 20
error. The clerk shall make an errorless count before the automatic tabulating 21
equipment is approved by the clerk for use in the election.
5.84 (1) (b) of the statutes is created to read:
(b) For a municipality that authorizes the absentee voting efficiency 3
option under subch. VI of ch. 6, the municipal clerk shall have the automatic 4
tabulating equipment tested, as provided under par. (a), on any day not more than 5
10 days prior to the first day on which such voting is available in the municipality 6
pursuant to s. 6.981.
5.91 (19) of the statutes is created to read:
For certifications made under this section on or after the effective date 9
of this subsection .... [LRB inserts date], if the device consists of an electronic voting 10
machine, it includes a report function that is capable of reporting write-in votes by 11
scanning the ballots and electronically capturing the write-in votes. If a device 12
certified before the effective date of this subsection .... [LRB inserts date], consists 13
of an electronic voting machine with such a report function, an election official may 14
use that function to count write-in votes, as provided in s. 7.50 (2) (d) to (j), after the 15
commission has tested the function.
Subchapter VI of chapter 6 [precedes 6.981] of the statutes is 17
created to read:
absentee voting efficiency option
216.981 Efficiency option. (1)
The municipal clerk shall complete the 22
application as provided under s. 6.87 (1) and allow an elector to cast a ballot prior to 23
election day by casting a ballot into an electronic voting system as provided under 24
s. 6.80 at the municipal clerk's office, if the governing body of the municipality has 25
enacted an ordinance or adopted a resolution to allow such voting and the
commission has certified the municipality under s. 6.982 (9) (a) to conduct such 2
voting. An elector may vote under this subchapter no earlier than the opening of 3
business on the 3rd Monday preceding the election and no later than 7 p.m. on the 4
Friday preceding the election. The clerk's office, or a site designated under s. 6.855, 5
may be open for voting under this subchapter Monday to Friday between the hours 6
of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day, but no voting is allowed under this subchapter on a legal 7
holiday. A municipality shall specify the hours for voting in the notice under s. 10.01 8
(b) After the governing body of the municipality has enacted an ordinance or 10
adopted a resolution to allow the voting procedure under par. (a), the municipality 11
shall use that procedure for all subsequent elections until such time that the 12
governing body enacts an ordinance or adopts a resolution repealing the use of the 13
procedure. The municipal clerk or deputy municipal clerk shall supervise the voting 14
procedure under par. (a).
(c) This subchapter does not preclude the clerk from using absentee envelopes 16
when the clerk determines that such use is necessary.
176.982 Administration. (1)
Votes cast under s. 6.981 may not be tabulated 18
until the closing of the polls on election day, but the municipal clerk shall publish on 19
the municipality's Internet site a daily tally of the total number of ballots cast under 20
s. 6.981 in the municipality. No person may otherwise view, print, provide, or release 21
any results from ballots cast under s. 6.981 until the close of the polls on election day.
(b) An elector who casts a ballot under s. 6.981 that is accepted by automatic 23
tabulating equipment may not request that the ballot be returned to him or her as 24
defective in order to cast a new ballot, as provided under s. 6.80 (2) (c).
(c) The clerk shall reconcile the ballots cast each day to ensure that the number 2
of ballots cast equals the number issued. If the clerk is unable to reconcile the ballots, 3
the reconciliation shall be completed as provided under s. 7.51 (2).
The county or municipal clerk or any other authorized person shall program 5
memory devices for automatic tabulating equipment used by municipalities that 6
authorize voting under s. 6.981 no later than 21 days prior to election day and the 7
municipalities shall acquire a sufficient number of memory devices to facilitate the 8
administration of a primary, the canvass following the primary, and the subsequent 9
election and canvass.
Automatic tabulating equipment used for purposes of this subchapter shall 11
be secured with a tamper-evident seal and the municipal clerk shall check the seals 12
for tampering at the beginning and ending of each day designated for voting under 13
s. 6.981. The clerk shall daily document all checks performed under this subsection.
For purposes of s. 6.981, the municipal clerk shall issue ballots using the 15
voter registration and voter information systems established and maintained by the 16
elections commission in the same manner that the systems are used to issue and 17
track absentee ballots. The commission shall program the system so that ballots 18
issued for purposes of this subchapter are tracked by sequentially numbering the 19
absentee ballot certification and request log.
(a) Except as provided in par. (b), an elector shall sign an absentee ballot 21
certification request log for purposes of this subchapter. The municipal clerk shall 22
have the elector provide an electronic or a handwritten signature, but if the clerk 23
allows the use of electronic signatures, the clerk shall not generate a final absentee 24
ballot log until after the last day designated for voting under s. 6.981.
(b) The municipal clerk may have an elector sign an electronic poll book using 2
an electronic signature as an alternative to signing an absentee ballot certification 3
request log under par. (a).
Except as provided in par. (c), the municipal clerk shall seal together all 5
ballots cast in the municipality under s. 6.981 each day in a numbered and 6
tamper-evident security seal ballot bag and document all such action and numbers. 7
All such ballot bags shall remain in the clerk's possession, sealed and secured by the 8
municipal clerk, until such time that they are needed for audit, recount, or storage.
(b) If the municipal clerk is required to report vote totals by ward, but the votes 10
in multiple wards are processed through a single memory device and tabulator, the 11
clerk shall not sort the ballots into wards before placing them into the bag described 12
under par. (a).
Section 7.41, regarding the public's right to access the polling place and s. 14
6.82, regarding assisting electors, apply to voting conducted under s. 6.981.
If an elector makes a challenge for cause in person, as provided under s. 16
6.925, with regard to any person offering to vote under this subchapter, the clerk 17
shall place the ballot in an absentee ballot envelope and send the envelope to the 18
polling place to be challenged under s. 6.93.
(a) The commission shall establish procedures for certifying municipalities 20
to conduct voting under s. 6.981. The commission shall certify a municipality to 21
conduct voting under s. 6.981 if it determines that the municipality is capable of 22
adequately securing all equipment and ballots consistent with this subchapter and 23
of satisfying all other requirements set forth in this subchapter.
(b) The commission shall establish procedures for the administration of this 25
subchapter, including procedures to facilitate the secure transfer of memory devices
from their use for voting under s. 6.981 to their use in tabulating the votes on election 2