2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
March 16, 2021 - Introduced by Senators Stroebel, Roth,
Jacque, Wanggaard, Bradley, Nass, Ballweg and Felzkowski, cosponsored
by Representatives Neylon, Duchow, Magnafici, Edming, Steffen, Spiros,
Krug, Knodl, Brooks, Sortwell, Gundrum, Murphy, Jagler, Wichgers and
VanderMeer. Referred to Committee on Elections, Election Process Reform
1An Act to amend
7.30 (3) (a) and 12.60 (1) (a); and to create
7.30 (7), 12.085 and 2
12.13 (3) (zp) of the statutes; relating to: private resources used for election
3administration, appointment of election officials, and providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under this bill, no official or agent of a county, city, village, or town may apply
for or accept any donation or grant of moneys, equipment, materials, or personnel
from an individual or nongovernmental entity for purposes of election
administration, except as expressly authorized under the statutes relating to
elections. If the Elections Commission accepts a donation or grant of moneys from
an individual or nongovernmental entity for purposes of election administration, the
commission may not expend those moneys, except as follows:
1. The commission must distribute the moneys to each municipality in
Wisconsin on a per capita basis, subject to an exception for distributions that would
result in any municipality receiving less than $25.
2. The commission may expend the moneys only as approved by the Joint
Committee on Finance.
Under the bill, whoever violates one of the prohibitions described above is guilty
of a Class I felony, the penalty for which is a fine not to exceed $10,000 or
imprisonment not to exceed three years and six months, or both.
The bill also makes it a Class I felony for any person to assist in counting or
tabulating votes at an election unless the person is a resident of this state, is a
tabulator or election official who is trained to the extent provided by law, and has
signed the official oath and returned it to the municipal clerk with respect to that
Finally, the bill prohibits the appointment of any poll worker who is an
employee of any of the following:
1. A candidate committee, legislative campaign committee, political action
committee, independent expenditure committee, political party, recall committee, or
referendum committee, as those terms are defined by law.
2. A political organization required to register with the federal elections
3. An issue advocacy group.
Because this bill creates a new crime or revises a penalty for an existing crime,
the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties may be requested to prepare a
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:
7.30 (3) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Not less than 30 days before any election the governing body or 3
board of election commissioners of any municipality, by resolution, may authorize 4
the municipal clerk or executive director of the board of election commissioners to 5
select and employ tabulators for any election. Such authorization applies to the 6
elections specified in the resolution, and if not specified, applies until the 7
authorization is modified or revoked. Each tabulator shall sign the official oath and
8return it to the municipal clerk before the election.
7.30 (7) of the statutes is created to read:
7.30 (7) Prohibited employment.
(a) In this subsection:
1. “Committee" has the meaning given in s. 11.0101 (6).
2. “Issue advocacy” means communication that provides information about 13
political or social issues and is made to influence the outcome of an election.
3. “Issue advocacy group” means any organization whose sole or primary 2
purpose is to engage in issue advocacy.
(b) No person who is an employee of any of the following may be appointed as 4
an election official:
1. A committee.
2. A political organization required to register with the federal elections 7
3. An issue advocacy group.
12.085 of the statutes is created to read:
1012.085 Private resources for election administration. (1) Definitions. 11
In this section:
(a) “Election administration” means preparing for, facilitating, conducting, or 13
administering an election.
(b) “Private resources” means moneys, equipment, materials, or personnel 15
provided by any individual or nongovernmental entity, but does not include 16
employees receiving paid leave to act as tabulators or election officials.
17(2) Ban on private resources for election administration.
No official or agent 18
of a county or municipality may apply for or accept any donation or grant of private 19
resources for purposes of election administration, except as expressly authorized 20
under chs. 5 to 12.
21(3) Commission acceptance of private moneys for election administration. 22
If the commission accepts a donation or grant of moneys from an individual or 23
nongovernmental entity for purposes of election administration, the commission 24
may not expend those moneys except as follows:
(a) Subject to par. (b), the commission shall distribute the moneys to each 2
municipality in this state on a per capita basis, except that if a distribution under this 3
subdivision would result in any municipality receiving a sum of less than $25, the 4
commission may retain the donation or grant and may apply the donation or grant 5
to offset the commission's own expenses related to the administration of elections 6
until such time as the commission accepts additional moneys under this subsection 7
that, in total, would result in a minimum distribution amount of $25 or more.
(b) The commission may expend a donation or grant of moneys accepted under 9
this subsection only as approved by the joint committee on finance. The joint 10
committee on finance may authorize expenditures other than those provided under 11
12.13 (3) (zp) of the statutes is created to read:
(zp) Assist in counting or tabulating votes at an election unless the 14
person is a resident of this state, is a tabulator or election official who is trained to 15
the extent provided by law, and has signed the official oath and returned it to the 16
municipal clerk with respect to that election.
12.60 (1) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Whoever violates s. 12.085,
12.09, 12.11 or 12.13 (1), (2) (b) 1. to 19
7. or (3) (a), (e), (f), (j), (k), (L), (m), (y) or
(z), or (zp)
is guilty of a Class I felony.