LRB-5672/1
JK:ahe
2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
March 13, 2018 - Printed by direction of Senate Chief Clerk.
AB637-engrossed,1,5 1An Act to repeal 6.15 (6) and 6.21; to renumber and amend 5.84 (1); to amend
25.85 (2) (a), 6.84 (2), 6.88 (3) (b), 6.92 (1), 6.925, 6.94, 6.95 and 7.52 (3) (b); and
3to create 5.84 (1) (b), 6.91 and subchapter VI of chapter 6 [precedes 6.981] of
4the statutes; relating to: using an electronic voting machine to cast a vote with
5an in-person absentee ballot and providing a criminal penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Engrossment information:
The text of Engrossed 2017 Assembly Bill 637 consists of the following
documents adopted in the assembly on February 20, 2018: Assembly Substitute
Amendment 3 as affected by Assembly Amendments 2, 9, 11, and 12. The text also
includes the March 13, 2018, chief clerk's correction to Assembly Amendment 12 to
Assembly Substitute Amendment 3 to Assembly Bill 637.
Content of Engrossed 2017 Assembly Bill 637:
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 (the
efficiency option). If a municipality enacts an ordinance or adopts a resolution to
implement this option, 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. Using the efficiency option may occur simultaneously

or in conjunction with making an application in person using absentee ballot
envelopes, but the periods for voting using the efficiency option and for making an
application in person by using absentee ballot envelopes need not be the same. 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 bill requires the municipality to publish a notice specifying the
locations, dates, and hours for voting using the efficiency option and the location
where results will be tallied on election night. Under the bill, a person who acts in
any manner that would give him or her the ability to know or to provide information
on the accumulating or final results from the ballots cast using the efficiency option
is guilty of a Class I felony. The current law that applies to voting on election day with
regard to election observers, assisting electors, the availability of accessible systems,
and the privilege of absentee voting also applies to voting as provided under the bill.
Under current law, an election inspector may challenge for cause any person
offering to vote whom the inspector knows or suspects is not a qualified elector.
Another elector may also make such a challenge for cause. When a voter's
qualifications are challenged, the inspector must administer an oath to the
challenged elector to affirm that he or she will fully and truly answer the inspector's
questions regarding the person's residence and qualifications. The bill allows the
chief clerk, the deputy clerk, or an inspector to challenge for cause any person
offering to vote and to administer the oath and ask the relevant questions regarding
the person's residence and qualifications.
The bill also repeals the current law provision regarding the treatment of
absentee ballots cast by a person who dies before election day.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB637-engrossed,1 1Section 1. 5.84 (1) of the statutes is renumbered 5.84 (1) (a) and amended to
2read:
AB637-engrossed,3,123 5.84 (1) (a) Where Except as provided in par. (b), where any municipality
4employs an electronic voting system which utilizes automatic tabulating equipment,
5either at the polling place or at a central counting location, the municipal clerk shall,
6on any day not more than 10 days prior to the election day on which the equipment
7is to be utilized, have the equipment tested to ascertain that it will correctly count
8the votes cast for all offices and on all measures. Public notice of the time and place
9of the test shall be given by the clerk at least 48 hours prior to the test by publication

1of a class 1 notice under ch. 985 in one or more newspapers published within the
2municipality if a newspaper is published therein, otherwise in a newspaper of
3general circulation therein. The test shall be open to the public. The test shall be
4conducted by processing a preaudited group of ballots so marked as to record a
5predetermined number of valid votes for each candidate and on each referendum.
6The test shall include for each office one or more ballots which have votes in excess
7of the number allowed by law and, for a partisan primary election, one or more ballots
8which have votes cast for candidates of more than one recognized political party, in
9order to test the ability of the automatic tabulating equipment to reject such votes.
10If any error is detected, the municipal clerk shall ascertain the cause and correct the
11error. The clerk shall make an errorless count before the automatic tabulating
12equipment is approved by the clerk for use in the election.
AB637-engrossed,2 13Section 2. 5.84 (1) (b) of the statutes is created to read:
AB637-engrossed,3,1814 5.84 (1) (b) For a municipality that authorizes the absentee voting efficiency
15option under subch. VI of ch. 6, the municipal clerk shall have the automatic
16tabulating equipment tested, as provided under par. (a), on any day not more than
1710 days prior to the first day on which such voting is available in the municipality
18pursuant to s. 6.981.
AB637-engrossed,3 19Section 3. 5.85 (2) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB637-engrossed,4,620 5.85 (2) (a) The Except when using a report function capable of reporting
21write-in votes by scanning the ballots and electronically capturing the write-in
22votes, the
election officials shall examine the ballots or record of votes cast for
23write-in votes and shall count and tabulate the write-in votes. The election officials
24shall count write-in votes as provided in s. 7.50 (2) (d). When an electronic voting
25system is used in which ballots are distributed to electors, before separating the

1remaining ballots from their respective covering envelopes, the election officials
2shall examine the ballots for write-in votes. When an elector has cast a write-in
3vote, the election officials shall compare the write-in vote with the votes on the ballot
4to determine whether the write-in vote results in an overvote for any office. In case
5of an overvote for any office, the election officials shall follow the procedure in par.
6(b).
AB637-engrossed,3m 7Section 3m. 6.15 (6) of the statutes is repealed.
AB637-engrossed,4 8Section 4. 6.21 of the statutes is repealed.
AB637-engrossed,4m 9Section 4m. 6.84 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB637-engrossed,4,1510 6.84 (2) Interpretation. Notwithstanding s. 5.01 (1), with respect to matters
11relating to the absentee ballot process, ss. 6.86, 6.87 (3) to (7) and 9.01 (1) (b) 2. and
124. and subch. VI shall be construed as mandatory. Ballots cast in contravention of
13the procedures specified in those provisions may not be counted. Ballots counted in
14contravention of the procedures specified in those provisions may not be included in
15the certified result of any election.
AB637-engrossed,4r 16Section 4r. 6.88 (3) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB637-engrossed,5,717 6.88 (3) (b) When the inspectors find that a certification is insufficient, that the
18applicant is not a qualified elector in the ward or election district, that the ballot
19envelope is open or has been opened and resealed, that the ballot envelope contains
20more than one ballot of any one kind or, except in municipalities where absentee
21ballots are canvassed under s. 7.52, that the certificate of a military or overseas
22elector who received an absentee ballot by facsimile transmission or electronic mail
23is missing, or if proof is submitted to the inspectors that an elector voting an absentee
24ballot has since died,
the inspectors shall not count the ballot. The inspectors shall
25endorse every ballot not counted on the back, “rejected (giving the reason)". The

1inspectors shall reinsert each rejected ballot into the certificate envelope in which
2it was delivered and enclose the certificate envelopes and ballots, and securely seal
3the ballots and envelopes in an envelope marked for rejected absentee ballots. The
4inspectors shall endorse the envelope, “rejected ballots" with a statement of the ward
5or election district and date of the election, signed by the chief inspector and one of
6the inspectors representing each of the 2 major political parties and returned to the
7municipal clerk in the same manner as official ballots voted at the election.
AB637-engrossed,5 8Section 5. 6.91 of the statutes is created to read:
AB637-engrossed,5,14 96.91 Place for challenging an elector. The vote of any voter, including an
10absent voter, may be challenged as provided under this subchapter at the polling
11place, at the municipal clerk's office during the period for making an in-person
12application for an absentee ballot under s. 6.86 (1) (b), at the municipal clerk's office
13during the period for using the voting procedure under s. 6.981, or at a central count
14location.
AB637-engrossed,6 15Section 6. 6.92 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB637-engrossed,5,2516 6.92 (1) Except as provided in sub. (2), each the clerk or deputy clerk or an
17inspector shall challenge for cause any person offering to vote whom the clerk, deputy
18clerk, or
inspector knows or suspects is not a qualified elector or who does not adhere
19to any voting requirement under this chapter. If a person is challenged as
20unqualified by the clerk or deputy clerk or an inspector, one of the inspectors the clerk
21or deputy clerk or an inspector
shall administer the following oath or affirmation to
22the person: “You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will fully and truly answer
23all questions put to you regarding your place of residence and qualifications as an
24elector of this election"; and shall then ask questions which are appropriate as
25determined by the commission, by rule, to test the person's qualifications.
AB637-engrossed,7
1Section 7. 6.925 of the statutes is amended to read:
AB637-engrossed,6,14 26.925 Elector making challenge in person. Any elector may challenge for
3cause any person offering to vote whom the elector knows or suspects is not a
4qualified elector. If a person is challenged as unqualified by an elector, one of the
5inspectors
the clerk or deputy clerk or an inspector may administer the oath or
6affirmation to the challenged elector under s. 6.92 and ask the challenged elector the
7questions under that section which are appropriate to test the elector's
8qualifications. In addition, one of the inspectors the clerk or deputy clerk or an
9inspector
shall administer the following oath or affirmation to the challenging
10elector: “You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will fully and truly answer all
11questions put to you regarding the challenged person's place of residence and
12qualifications as an elector of this election"; and shall then ask questions which are
13appropriate as determined by the commission, by rule, to test the qualifications of
14the challenged elector.
AB637-engrossed,8 15Section 8. 6.94 of the statutes is amended to read:
AB637-engrossed,7,7 166.94 Challenged elector oath. If the person challenged refuses to answer
17fully any relevant questions put to him or her by the clerk, deputy clerk, or inspector
18under s. 6.92, the clerk, deputy clerk, or inspectors shall reject the elector's vote. If
19the challenge is not withdrawn after the person offering to vote has answered the
20questions, one of the inspectors the clerk or deputy clerk or an inspector shall
21administer to the person the following oath or affirmation: “You do solemnly swear
22(or affirm) that: you are 18 years of age; you are a citizen of the United States; you
23are now and for 28 consecutive days have been a resident of this ward except under
24s. 6.02 (2); you have not voted at this election; you have not made any bet or wager
25or become directly or indirectly interested in any bet or wager depending upon the

1result of this election; you are not on any other ground disqualified to vote at this
2election". If the person challenged refuses to take the oath or affirmation, the
3person's vote shall be rejected. If the person challenged answers fully all relevant
4questions put to the elector by the clerk, deputy clerk, or inspector under s. 6.92,
5takes the oath or affirmation, and fulfills the applicable registration requirements,
6and if the answers to the questions given by the person indicate that the person meets
7the voting qualification requirements, the person's vote shall be received.
AB637-engrossed,9 8Section 9. 6.95 of the statutes is amended to read:
AB637-engrossed,8,4 96.95 Voting procedure for challenged electors. Whenever the clerk,
10deputy clerk, or
inspectors under ss. 6.92 to 6.94 receive the vote of a person offering
11to vote who has been challenged, the clerk, deputy clerk, or inspectors shall, before
12giving the elector a ballot, write on the back of the ballot the serial number of the
13challenged person corresponding to the number kept at the election on the poll list,
14or other list maintained under s. 6.79, and the notation “s. 6.95". If voting machines
15are used in the municipality where the person is voting, the person's vote may be
16received only upon an absentee ballot furnished by the municipal clerk which shall
17have the corresponding serial number from the poll list or other list maintained
18under s. 6.79 and the notation “s. 6.95" written on the back of the ballot by the
19inspectors before the ballot is given to the elector. The clerk, deputy clerk, or
20inspectors shall indicate on the list the reason for the challenge. The clerk, deputy
21clerk, or
inspectors shall then deposit the ballot. The challenged ballots shall be
22counted under s. 5.85 or 7.51. The municipal board of canvassers may decide any
23challenge when making its canvass under s. 7.53. If the returns are reported under
24s. 7.60, a challenge may be reviewed by the county board of canvassers. If the returns
25are reported under s. 7.70, a challenge may be reviewed by the chairperson of the

1commission or the chairperson's designee. The decision of any board of canvassers
2or of the chairperson or chairperson's designee may be appealed under s. 9.01. The
3standard for disqualification specified in s. 6.325 shall be used to determine the
4validity of challenged ballots.
AB637-engrossed,10 5Section 10. Subchapter VI of chapter 6 [precedes 6.981] of the statutes is
6created to read:
AB637-engrossed,8,88 subchapter VI
AB637-engrossed,8,109 absentee voting
10 efficiency option
AB637-engrossed,9,2 116.981 Efficiency option. (1) (a) The municipal clerk shall complete the
12application as provided under s. 6.87 (1) and allow an elector to cast a ballot prior to
13election day by casting a ballot into an electronic voting system as provided under
14s. 6.80 at the municipal clerk's office, if the governing body of the municipality has
15enacted an ordinance or adopted a resolution to allow such voting and the
16commission has certified the municipality under s. 6.982 (8) (a) to conduct such
17voting. An elector may vote under this subchapter during the time prescribed for an
18application made in person pursuant to s. 6.86 (1) (b), but only after the municipality
19has completed a successful public test of the programmed media necessary to vote
20under this subchapter and the test occurs no more than 10 days prior to the use of
21the media for voting under this subchapter. A municipality shall specify the
22locations, dates, and hours for voting and the location where results will be tallied
23on election night in the notice under s. 10.01 (2) (e). The municipal clerk, or his or
24her designee, shall send the notice to the 2 major political parties, as defined in s.

113.46 (5), at the state level and, if applicable, at the county and local levels, on the
2same date as the notice is posted for the general public.
AB637-engrossed,9,83 (b) After the governing body of the municipality has enacted an ordinance or
4adopted a resolution to allow the voting procedure under par. (a), the municipality
5shall use that procedure for all subsequent elections until such time that the
6governing body enacts an ordinance or adopts a resolution repealing the use of the
7procedure. The municipal clerk or deputy municipal clerk shall supervise the voting
8procedure under par. (a).
AB637-engrossed,9,149 (c) This subchapter does not preclude the clerk from using absentee envelopes
10when the clerk or the elector determines that such use is necessary. Voting as
11provided under this subchapter may occur simultaneously or in conjunction with
12making an application in person using absentee envelopes, but the periods for voting
13as provided under this subchapter and for making an application in person using
14absentee envelopes need not be the same.
AB637-engrossed,9,18 156.982 Administration. (1) (a) Votes cast under s. 6.981 may not be tabulated
16until the closing of the polls on election day, but the municipal clerk shall publish on
17the municipality's Internet site a daily tally of the total number of ballots cast under
18s. 6.981 in the municipality.
AB637-engrossed,9,2219 (b) No person may act in any manner that would give him or her the ability to
20know or to provide information on the accumulating or final results from the ballots
21cast under s. 6.981 before the close of the polls on election day. A person who violates
22this paragraph is guilty of a Class I felony.
AB637-engrossed,9,2523 (c) An elector who casts a ballot under s. 6.981 that is accepted by automatic
24tabulating equipment may not request that the ballot be returned to him or her as
25defective in order to cast a new ballot, as provided under s. 6.80 (2) (c).
AB637-engrossed,10,13
1(d) The clerk or deputy clerk shall reconcile the ballots cast each day to ensure
2that the number of ballots cast equals the number issued. The reconciliation may
3include performing checks that do not involve examining the ballots cast, including
4checking data entry and verifying mathematical computations. If the clerk or deputy
5clerk is unable to reconcile the ballots, the incident log shall include the date and any
6other information necessary to clearly identify the reconciliation issue. The
7municipality shall post the daily reconciliation incident report on the municipality's
8Internet site at the close of each day during the period for voting under this
9subchapter. If the clerk or deputy clerk is unable to reconcile the ballots, the clerk
10or deputy clerk shall deliver all ballot bags of unreconciled ballots, along with the
11daily reconciliation incident reports, to the appropriate board of canvassers as
12provided under s. 7.53 and the board of canvassers shall complete the reconciliation
13using the methods provided under s. 7.51.
AB637-engrossed,11,6 14(2) At all times when the process for voting under this subchapter is in use the
15municipality shall have at least 2 individuals present, not including an elector. The
16tabulation equipment shall be in a location that is visible to the clerk or the clerk's
17designee and to at least one other person. Automatic tabulating equipment used for
18purposes of this subchapter shall be secured with a tamper-evident security seal and
19the clerk or the clerk's designee, in the presence of at least one witness, shall check
20the seals for tampering at the beginning and ending of each day designated for voting
21under s. 6.981. The areas where the programmed media and the ballots cast are
22housed shall be secured with tamper-evident security seals. At least 2 persons shall
23be present for any administrative process that requires access to a sealed area and
24the breaking of a tamper-evident security seal, including clearing a jammed ballot
25or emptying a full ballot bin. The clerk or clerk's designee shall daily document all

1checks and record any such activity and reason in which a seal is broken and replaced
2under this subsection. The clerk or clerk's designee shall obtain the signature of any
3witness who was present when any such activity is performed. When not in use the
4tabulation equipment and the cast ballots sealed inside tamper-evident security
5seal ballot bags shall be secured in a double-lock location such as a locked cabinet
6inside a locked office.
AB637-engrossed,11,17 7(3) For purposes of s. 6.981, the municipal clerk shall issue ballots using the
8voter registration and voter information systems established and maintained by the
9elections commission in the same manner that the systems are used to issue and
10track absentee ballots. The commission shall program the system so that ballots
11issued for purposes of this subchapter are tracked by creating a separate
12classification type in the statewide voter registration system to identify electors
13casting a ballot using the process under this subchapter. The commission shall work
14to upgrade the system to allow for the system to sequentially number absentee
15ballots, but municipalities may use the system to identify electors casting a ballot
16using the process under this subchapter regardless of whether such upgrade has
17been completed.
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