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LRB-5801/1
JK:amn
2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
March 19, 2020 - Introduced by Senators Smith and Miller, cosponsored by
Representatives Subeck, Spreitzer, Emerson, C. Taylor, Zamarripa,
Anderson and Brostoff. Referred to Committee on Elections, Ethics and
Rural Issues.
SB893,1,7 1An Act to renumber and amend 7.60 (4) (c); to amend 5.01 (4) (a), 5.01 (4) (b),
25.01 (4) (c), 7.08 (1) (c), 7.50 (1) (b), 7.50 (1) (c), 7.50 (2) (intro.), 7.51 (4) (a), 7.51
3(5) (a) 3., 7.53 (1) (a), 7.60 (4) (a), 8.17 (1) (a), 8.17 (4), 8.17 (5) (b), 10.02 (3)
4(intro.) and 120.06 (7) (b); and to create 5.05 (1) (g), 5.20, 6.80 (2) (g), 7.60 (4)
5(c) 3., 7.60 (4) (c) 4., 7.62, 8.05 (1) (L), 10.02 (4) and 20.510 (1) (ed) of the statutes;
6relating to: ranked-choice voting for local nonpartisan elections, granting
7rule-making authority, and making an appropriation.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill allows local governmental units to enact an ordinance or adopt a
resolution to use ranked-choice voting for the election of all local officials, not
including recall elections for any such officials. The bill defines “local governmental
unit” as a county, city, village, town, or special purpose district, including a school
district. Under ranked-choice voting, each voter may rank as many preferences for
each office or seat as there are candidates whose names appear on the ballot for that
office or seat. If the voter indicates a preference for more than one candidate for an
office or seat, the voter must indicate a preference between the candidates by
designating one as “first choice," another as “second choice," and ranking subsequent
choices in sequential preference. A voter may also indicate a preference for one or
more write-in candidates for any office or seat.

A voter who casts one vote for a candidate for an office or seat but who does not
indicate a preference is considered to have cast a “first-choice" preference for that
candidate. If any candidate receives a majority of the first-choice preferences for the
office or seat, that candidate is elected. If no candidate receives a majority of the
first-choice preferences for an office or seat, the name of the candidate receiving the
least number of first-choice preferences is dropped and the second-choice
preferences of the voters who preferred that candidate, if any, are then added to the
first-choice preferences received by the other candidates. Subsequent preferences
of those voters are allocated to the other candidates in a similar manner as
candidates with the fewest voter preferences are eliminated. If any candidate for the
office or seat then has a majority of the combined first-choice and reallocated
preferences, that candidate is elected. If not, the procedure is repeated until one
candidate receives a majority of the combined first-choice and reallocated
preferences.
In the case of a multiple-seat district, the candidates whose vote total is equal
to or greater than the threshold number of votes are elected. The threshold is
determined by dividing the total number of votes cast for the open seats by the
number of the open seats, plus one, and adding one to the quotient, disregarding any
fractions. Generally, if a candidate receives more than the number of threshold votes
during a round of counting the preferential votes, his or her surplus votes are
allocated to the continuing candidates in order of preference until all open seats are
filled. A voter may also indicate a preference for one or more write-in candidates.
Under ranked-choice voting, no primary election is held for an elective office
in a local governmental unit.
Finally, the bill authorizes the Elections Commission to make expenditures to
implement and administer ranked-choice voting, including updating equipment
and software and implementing secure technologies, and to make grants to local
governmental units for the same purpose.
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:
SB893,1 1Section 1 . 5.01 (4) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,3,22 5.01 (4) (a) If Except as provided under s. 7.62, if 2 or more candidates for the
3same office receive the greatest, but an equal number of votes, the winner shall be
4chosen by lot in the presence of the board of canvassers charged with the
5responsibility to determine the election, or in the case of an election for state or
6national office or metropolitan sewerage commissioner, if the commissioner is

1elected under s. 200.09 (11) (am), in the presence of the chairperson of the elections
2commission or the chairperson's designee.
SB893,2 3Section 2 . 5.01 (4) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,3,74 5.01 (4) (b) If Except as provided under s. 7.62, if, in a primary, 2 or more
5candidates receive an equal but not the greatest number of votes so that only one of
6those candidates with equal votes may advance to the final election, the choice shall
7similarly be made by drawing lots.
SB893,3 8Section 3 . 5.01 (4) (c) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,3,129 5.01 (4) (c) The For purposes of pars. (a) and (b), the candidates may, if all those
10tied for the same office are present, draw for themselves. Upon refusal or absence
11of any of the candidates, the board of canvassers shall appoint a competent person
12to draw, and upon the results declare and certify the winner.
SB893,4 13Section 4 . 5.05 (1) (g) of the statutes is created to read:
SB893,3,1714 5.05 (1) (g) Make grants to local governmental units, as defined in s. 5.20 (1)
15(a), to update equipment and software, including the implementation of secure
16technologies, to administer ranked-choice voting under s. 5.20 and the canvass
17procedure for ranked-choice voting under s. 7.62.
SB893,5 18Section 5 . 5.20 of the statutes is created to read:
SB893,3,19 195.20 Ranked-choice voting. (1) In this section:
SB893,3,2120 (a) “Local governmental unit” means a county, city, village, town, or special
21purpose district, including a school district.
SB893,3,2522 (b) “Ranked-choice voting" means a voting method in which the electors voting
23in an election for an elective office are permitted to indicate and order their
24preferences for all candidates whose names appear on the ballot for the same office
25or seat.
SB893,4,13
1(2) Except as provided in ss. 8.05 (1) (L) and 9.10 (3) (d) and (e) and (4) (f), the
2governing body of a local governmental unit may enact an ordinance or adopt a
3resolution to use ranked-choice voting for all elective offices to be filled in the local
4governmental unit. A governing body that enacts an ordinance or adopts a resolution
5to use ranked-choice voting shall notify the commission that it has taken such action
6no later than 120 days prior to the first election at which it intends to use
7ranked-choice voting. No governing body that adopts ranked-choice voting shall
8hold primaries for elective offices to be filled in the local governmental unit. A
9governing body that adopts ranked-choice voting shall use ranked-choice voting for
10all elective offices to be filled in the local governmental unit until such time as the
11ordinance or resolution is repealed. A governing body shall notify the commission
12of such a repeal no later than 120 days prior to the first election at which
13ranked-choice voting will no longer be used.
SB893,4,22 14(3) An elector may rank as many preferences for each office as there are
15candidates for the office whose names appear on the ballot. If more than one seat on
16a governing body is to be filled at large, the procedure under s. 7.62 (3) applies. If
17write-in votes are permitted, a voter may vote for a write-in candidate in addition
18to any candidate whose name appears on the ballot. To indicate a preference, an
19elector shall mark his or her ballot with or cause the voting machine to indicate the
20elector's first choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, and subsequent choices, if any. An elector
21is not required to indicate a choice and is not required to indicate as many choices
22as the elector is eligible to indicate.
SB893,6 23Section 6 . 6.80 (2) (g) of the statutes is created to read:
SB893,5,924 6.80 (2) (g) In elections for offices at which ranked-choice voting under s. 5.20
25is used, an elector may rank as many preferences for each office or seat as there are

1candidates whose names appear on the ballot for that office or seat. If more than one
2seat on a governing body is to be filled at large, an elector may rank as many
3preferences for that office or seat as there are candidates whose names appear on the
4ballot for all of the seats to be filled. If write-in votes are permitted, a voter may vote
5for a write-in candidate in addition to any candidate whose name appears on the
6ballot. An elector who indicates preferences for candidates for an office or seat must
7indicate a different preference for each candidate for that office or seat. If an elector
8casts more than one vote for any office or seat without indicating preferences, the
9elector's intent shall be determined as provided under s. 7.62 (4).
SB893,7 10Section 7. 7.08 (1) (c) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,5,1511 7.08 (1) (c) Prescribe forms required by ss. 6.24 (3) and (4), 6.30 (4) and (5), 6.33
12(1), 6.47 (1) (am) 2. and (3), 6.55 (2), and 6.86 (2) to (3), and 7.62 (1m). All such forms
13shall contain a statement of the penalty applicable to false or fraudulent registration
14or voting through use of the form. Forms are not required to be furnished by the
15commission.
SB893,8 16Section 8 . 7.50 (1) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,5,2317 7.50 (1) (b) When an elector casts more votes for any office or measure than he
18or she is entitled to cast at an election, all the elector's votes for that office or measure
19are invalid and the elector is deemed to have voted for none of them, except as
20provided in par. (c) and sub. (2) (d) and s. 7.62. If an elector casts less votes for any
21office or measure than he or she is entitled to cast at an election, all votes cast by the
22elector shall be counted but no vote shall be counted more than once , except as
23provided in s. 7.62
.
SB893,9 24Section 9 . 7.50 (1) (c) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,6,3
17.50 (1) (c) If an elector casts more than one vote for the same candidate for the
2same office, the first vote is valid and the remaining votes are invalid , except as
3provided in s. 7.62
.
SB893,10 4Section 10 . 7.50 (2) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,6,105 7.50 (2) Ascertainment of intent. (intro.) All ballots cast at an election which
6bear the initials of 2 inspectors shall be counted for the person or referendum
7question for whom or for which they were intended, so far as the electors' intent can
8be ascertained from the ballots notwithstanding informality or failure to fully
9comply with other provisions of chs. 5 to 12. To Except as otherwise provided under
10s. 7.62, to
determine intent:
SB893,11 11Section 11. 7.51 (4) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,7,412 7.51 (4) (a) The tally sheets shall state the total number of votes cast for each
13office and for each individual receiving votes for that office, whether or not the
14individual's name appears on the ballot, and shall state the vote for and against each
15proposition voted on. For elections conducted under s. 5.20, the tally sheets shall
16also, for each round of tabulation, state the total number of highest-ranked
17preferences received by each candidate and the total number of lesser-ranked
18preferences received by each candidate, indicating the total number for each
19preference.
Upon completion of the tally sheets, the inspectors shall immediately
20complete the inspectors' statement. The inspectors shall state the excess, if any, by
21which the number of ballots exceeds the number of electors voting as shown by the
22poll list and shall state the number of the last elector as shown by the poll lists. At
23least 3 inspectors, including the chief inspector and, unless election officials are
24appointed under s. 7.30 (4) (c) without regard to party affiliation, at least one
25inspector representing each political party, but not including any inspector

1appointed under s. 7.30 (1) (b), shall then certify to the correctness of the statement
2and tally sheets and sign their names. All other election officials assisting with the
3tally shall also certify to the correctness of the tally sheets. When the tally is
4complete, the inspectors shall publicly announce the results from the statement.
SB893,12 5Section 12. 7.51 (5) (a) 3. of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,7,116 7.51 (5) (a) 3. The inspectors shall also seal the inspectors' statement, inside
7a separate carrier envelope, and shall similarly seal in a separate carrier envelope
8one tally sheet and one poll list for delivery to the municipal clerk. For elections
9conducted under s. 5.20, the inspectors shall enclose the tally sheet provided under
10s. 7.62 (1m).
For school district elections, except in 1st class cities, the inspectors
11shall seal one tally sheet and one poll list for delivery to the school district clerk.
SB893,13 12Section 13. 7.53 (1) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,8,2013 7.53 (1) (a) Where the municipality constitutes one ward or combines all wards
14to utilize a single polling place under s. 5.15 (6) (b), the canvass of the votes cast at
15the polling place shall be conducted publicly under s. 7.51 and the inspectors, other
16than any inspector appointed under s. 7.30 (1) (b), shall act as the municipal board
17of canvassers. The inspectors shall then complete the return statement for all votes
18cast at the polling place. If there are no provisional ballots that are eligible to be
19counted under s. 6.97 and no absentee ballots are being canvassed under s. 7.52, the
20inspectors may complete and sign the canvass statement and determination on
21election night. In municipalities where absentee ballots are canvassed under s. 7.52,
22after the canvass of the absentee ballots is completed under s. 7.52, the board of
23absentee ballot canvassers shall reconcile the poll list of the electors who vote by
24absentee ballot with the corresponding poll list of the electors who vote in person to
25ensure that no elector is allowed to cast more than one ballot. If an elector who votes

1in person has submitted an absentee ballot, the absentee ballot is void. Except as
2authorized in par. (b), if one or more electors of the municipality have cast provisional
3ballots that are eligible to be counted under s. 6.97, the inspectors, acting as the board
4of canvassers, shall reconvene no later than 9 a.m. on the Monday after the election
5to count the valid provisional ballots and shall adjust the returns accordingly. The
6inspectors, acting as the board of canvassers, need not reconvene if the municipal
7clerk certifies that he or she has received no provisional ballots from the time that
8the board of canvassers completed the initial canvass and 4 p.m. on the Friday after
9the election. Upon completion of the canvass under this paragraph and any canvass
10that is conducted under s. 7.52 or 7.62 and ascertainment of the results by the
11inspectors or, in municipalities where absentee ballots are canvassed under s. 7.52,
12by the inspectors and the board of absentee ballot canvassers, the municipal clerk
13shall publicly read to the inspectors or the board of absentee ballot canvassers the
14names of the persons voted for and the number of votes for each person for each
15municipal office,; for elections conducted under s. 5.20, the number of
16highest-ranked preferences and the number of lesser-ranked preferences for each
17person for each office, indicating the numbers for each preference;
the names of the
18persons declared by the inspectors or board of absentee ballot canvassers to have won
19nomination or election to each municipal office, ; and the number of votes cast for and
20against each municipal referendum question.
SB893,14 21Section 14. 7.60 (4) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB893,9,1822 7.60 (4) (a) The board of canvassers shall make separate duplicate statements
23showing the numbers of votes cast for the offices of president and vice president; state
24officials; U.S. senators and representatives in congress; state legislators; justice;
25court of appeals judge; circuit judges; district attorneys; and metropolitan sewerage

1commissioners, if the commissioners are elected under s. 200.09 (11) (am). If a
2municipal judge elected under s. 755.01 (4) serves a municipality that is located
3partially within the county and candidates for that judgeship file nomination papers
4in another county, the board of canvassers shall prepare a duplicate statement
5showing the numbers of votes cast for that judgeship in that county for transmittal
6to the other county. For partisan candidates, the statements shall include the
7political party or principle designation, if any, next to the name of each candidate.
8The board of canvassers shall also prepare a statement showing the results of any
9county, technical college district, or statewide referendum. Each statement shall
10state the total number of votes cast in the county for each office; the names of all
11persons for whom the votes were cast, as returned; the number of votes cast for each
12person; for elections conducted under s. 5.20, the number of highest-ranked
13preferences and lesser-ranked preferences cast for each person, indicating the
14numbers for each preference;
and the number of votes cast for and against any
15question submitted at a referendum. The board of canvassers shall use one copy of
16each duplicate statement to report to the elections commission, technical college
17district board, or board of canvassers of any other county and shall file the other
18statement in the office of the county clerk or board of election commissioners.
SB893,15 19Section 15. 7.60 (4) (c) of the statutes is renumbered 7.60 (4) (c) (intro.) and
20amended to read:
SB893,9,2521 7.60 (4) (c) (intro.) In preparing the statements and determinations, the board
22of canvassers shall carefully review the tally sheets and inspectors' statement. The
23board of canvassers may omit the names of individuals whose names do not appear
24on the ballot and who receive a comparatively small number of votes. The board of
25canvassers shall designate votes received by such individuals as scattering votes.

1The board of canvassers shall append the following to each statement and
2determination a :
SB893,10,5 31. A tabulation of the votes cast at each election district, ward, or combination
4of wards authorized under s. 5.15 (6) (b) in the county for each office and each
5individual, whether the votes are canvassed or not, as well as the.
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