2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
March 25, 2021 - Introduced by Senators Kooyenga and Smith, cosponsored by
Representatives Kurtz, Riemer, Novak, Kitchens, Drake, Tusler,
Skowronski, B. Meyers, Considine, Subeck, Anderson, Hebl, Vruwink,
Moses, Andraca, McGuire, Dallman, Shankland and Emerson. Referred to
Committee on Elections, Election Process Reform and Ethics.
1An Act to renumber and amend
7.60 (4) (c) and 8.16 (1); to amend
5.01 (3) (a), 2
5.01 (4) (a), 5.35 (6) (b), 5.62 (1) (a), 5.62 (1) (b) 2., 5.62 (2) (b), 5.62 (3), 5.81 (4), 3
5.84 (1), 5.91 (1), 5.91 (6), 6.80 (2) (am), 7.10 (2), 7.50 (1) (b), 7.50 (1) (c), 7.50 (1) 4
(d), 7.60 (4) (a), 8.50 (3) (b), 8.50 (3) (c) and 10.02 (3) (b) 2.; and to create
5.62 (3m), 6.80 (2) (g), 7.60 (4) (c) 3., 7.60 (4) (c) 4., 7.62 and 8.16 (1) (b) of the 6
statutes; relating to: top-five primaries and instant runoff voting for the
7offices of U.S. senator and U.S. representative in Congress.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Top-five primaries for certain national offices
Under current law, electors voting in a partisan primary may select the party
whose candidates they wish to vote for and may cast votes for candidates only within
that political party. The single candidate who receives the greatest number of votes
for each office within each party is nominated to appear on the general election ballot.
Independent candidates and candidates of minor parties that do not qualify for a
separate party ballot, column, or row do not appear on the partisan primary ballot.
This bill provides that electors may vote in the primary for U.S. senator and
representative in Congress for any candidate regardless of party affiliation, and the
five persons who receive the greatest numbers of votes for each such office are
nominated to appear on the general election ballot. Under the bill, independent
candidates for such offices and candidates of minor parties appear on the top-five
primary ballot, and electors may vote for these candidates in the same manner as
Instant runoff voting for certain national offices in general elections
This bill requires instant runoff voting at the general election for U.S. senator
and representative in Congress. Under instant runoff voting, voters uses a
ranked-choice voting ballot and have the option to cast their vote for each office in
order of preference. If a voter ranks more than one candidate for an office, the voter
must indicate a preference between the candidates by designating one as “first
choice," another as “second choice," and subsequent choices in sequential preference.
A voter may also indicate as one of their preferences one or more write-in candidates
for any office.
If any candidate receives a majority of the first-choice preferences cast, 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. 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.
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:
5.01 (3) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Except as provided in par. (b)
, and s. 5.20
, in every election to choose 3
any officer, each elector has one vote for each office unless clearly indicated 4
otherwise. The person receiving the greatest number of legal votes for the office shall 5
be declared elected, and the canvassers shall so determine and certify.
5.01 (4) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) If Except as provided under s. 7.62 (6), if
2 or more candidates for 8
the same office receive the greatest, but an equal number of votes, the winner shall 9
be chosen by lot in the presence of the board of canvassers charged with the
responsibility to determine the election, or in the case of an election for state or 2
national office or metropolitan sewerage commissioner, if the commissioner is 3
elected under s. 200.09 (11) (am), in the presence of the chairperson of the elections 4
commission or the chairperson's designee.
5.20 of the statutes is created to read:
65.20 Instant runoff voting.
In this section, “instant runoff voting" means 7
a voting method in which the electors voting at the general election for U.S. senator 8
or representative in Congress use a ranked-choice voting ballot that permits them 9
to indicate and order their preferences for all candidates whose names appear on the 10
ballot for the same office as provided under sub. (3).
Using a ranked-choice voting ballot, an elector may indicate his or her 12
preferences for each office, for up to 5 candidates. An elector may indicate a 13
preference for a write-in candidate. An elector is not required to rank more than one 14
candidate and may rank up to 5 candidates.
(a) For any election using instant runoff voting, the ballot shall allow 16
electors to rank candidates in order of preference, including write-in candidates.
(b) The ballot shall allow electors to rank up to 5 candidates.
(c) The ballot shall not interfere with an elector's ability to rank a write-in 19
candidate, but a vote for a write-in candidate may only be counted as provided under 20
s. 7.50 (2) (em).
5.35 (6) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) At each polling place in the state where a consolidated ballot under 23
s. 5.655 is used or an electronic voting system is utilized at a partisan primary 24
election incorporating a ballot upon which electors may mark votes for candidates 25
of more than one recognized political party, the municipal clerk or board of election
commissioners shall prominently post a sign in the form prescribed by the 2
commission warning electors in substance that on any ballot with votes cast for 3
candidates of more than one recognized political party, other than candidates for the
4offices of U.S. senator and U.S. representative in Congress,
no votes cast for any 5
candidates for partisan office will be counted unless a preference for a party is made. 6
If the elector designates a preference, only votes cast for candidates of that 7
preference will be counted.
5.62 (1) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) At the partisan primary, the following ballot shall be provided for 10
the nomination of candidates of recognized political parties for
state and 11
county offices and independent candidates for state office in each ward, in the same 12
form as prescribed by the commission under s. 7.08 (1) (a), except as authorized in 13
s. 5.655. The ballots shall be made up of the several party tickets with each party 14
entitled to participate in the primary under par. (b) or sub. (2) having its own ballot, 15
except as authorized in s. 5.655. The ballots shall be secured together at the bottom. 16
The party ballot of the party receiving the most votes for president or governor at the 17
last general election shall be on top with the other parties arranged in descending 18
order based on their vote for president or governor at the last general election. The 19
ballots of parties qualifying under sub. (2) shall be placed after the parties qualifying 20
under par. (b), in the same order in which the parties filed petitions with the 21
commission. Any ballot required under par. (b) 2. shall be placed next in order. At 22
polling places where voting machines are used, each party shall be represented in 23
one or more separate columns or rows on the ballot. At polling places where an 24
electronic voting system is used other than an electronic voting machine, each party 25
may be represented in separate columns or rows on the ballot.
5.62 (1) (b) 2. of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) 2. Subdivision 1. applies to a party within any assembly district or 3
county at any partisan primary election only if at least one candidate of the party for 4
state or county office qualifies to have his or her name appear on the 5
ballot under the name of that party within that assembly district or county. The 6
county clerk or county board of election commissioners shall provide a combined 7
separate ballot or one or more separate columns or rows on the ballot that will permit 8
an elector to cast a vote for a write-in candidate for the nomination of any such party 9
for each national,
state and county office whenever that party qualifies to be 10
represented on a separate primary ballot or in one or more separate columns or rows 11
under subd. 1. but does not qualify under this subdivision. The ballot shall include 12
the name of each party qualifying for a separate ballot or one or more separate 13
columns or rows on the ballot under each office, with the names of the candidates for 14
each such party appearing in the same order in which the ballots of the parties would 15
appear under par. (a).
5.62 (2) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) Paragraph (a) applies to a party within any assembly district or 18
county at any partisan primary election only if at least one candidate of the party for 19
state or county office qualifies to have his or her name appear on the 20
ballot under the name of that party within that assembly district or county. The 21
county clerk or county board of election commissioners shall provide a combined 22
separate ballot or one or more separate columns or rows on the ballot that will permit 23
an elector to cast a vote for a write-in candidate for the nomination of any such party 24
for each national,
state and county office whenever that party qualifies to be 25
represented on a separate primary ballot or in one or more separate columns or rows
under par. (a) but does not qualify under this paragraph. The ballot shall include the 2
name of each party qualifying for a separate ballot or one or more separate columns 3
or rows on the ballot under each office, with the names of the candidates for each such 4
party appearing in the same order in which the ballots of the parties would appear 5
under sub. (1) (a).
5.62 (3) of the statutes is amended to read:
The commission shall designate the official primary ballot 8
arrangement for statewide offices and district attorney within each prosecutorial 9
district by using the same procedure as provided in s. 5.60 (1) (b). On each ballot and 10
on each separate column or row on the ballot, the candidates for office shall be listed 11
together with the offices which they seek in the following order whenever these 12
offices appear on the partisan primary ballot: governor, lieutenant governor, 13
attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, U.S. senator, U.S.
14representative in congress,
state senator, representative to the assembly, district 15
attorney and the county offices.
5.62 (3m) of the statutes is created to read:
At the partisan primary, the following ballot shall be provided for the 18
nomination of candidates for U.S. senator and U.S. representative in Congress, in 19
the same form as prescribed by the commission under s. 7.08 (1) (a), except as 20
authorized in s. 5.655. The names of all candidates shall appear on the ballot. Below 21
the name of each candidate shall appear the candidate's political party or the 22
candidate's political party preference or statement of principles, if any, in 5 words or 23
less, as shown on the candidate's nomination papers. The order of candidates on the 24
ballot shall be determined by lot by or under the supervision of the commission.
5.81 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
In partisan primary elections,
except with respect to the offices of U.S.
2senator and U.S. representative in Congress,
if a ballot contains the names of 3
candidates of more than one party, it shall provide a space for electors to designate 4
a party preference. Failure to designate a preference does not invalidate any votes 5
cast by an elector, except as provided in s. 7.50 (1) (d).
5.84 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
Where any municipality employs an electronic voting system which 8
utilizes automatic tabulating equipment, either at the polling place or at a central 9
counting location, the municipal clerk shall, on any day not more than 10 days prior 10
to the election day on which the equipment is to be utilized, have the equipment 11
tested to ascertain that it will correctly count the votes cast for all offices and on all 12
measures. Public notice of the time and place of the test shall be given by the clerk 13
at least 48 hours prior to the test by publication of a class 1 notice under ch. 985 in 14
one or more newspapers published within the municipality if a newspaper is 15
published therein, otherwise in a newspaper of general circulation therein. The test 16
shall be open to the public. The test shall be conducted by processing a preaudited 17
group of ballots so marked as to record a predetermined number of valid votes for 18
each candidate and on each referendum. The test shall include for each office one 19
or more ballots which have votes in excess of the number allowed by law and, for a 20
partisan primary election, except with respect to the offices of U.S. senator and U.S.
21representative in Congress,
one or more ballots which have votes cast for candidates 22
of more than one recognized political party, in order to test the ability of the 23
automatic tabulating equipment to reject such votes. If any error is detected, the 24
municipal clerk shall ascertain the cause and correct the error. The clerk shall make
an errorless count before the automatic tabulating equipment is approved by the 2
clerk for use in the election.
5.91 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
It enables an elector to vote in secrecy and, except with respect to the
5offices of U.S. senator and U.S. representative in Congress,
to select the party for 6
which an elector will vote in secrecy at a partisan primary election.
5.91 (6) of the statutes is amended to read:
5.91 (6) The Except with respect to the offices of U.S. senator and U.S.
9representative in Congress, the
voting device or machine permits an elector in a 10
primary election to vote for the candidates of the recognized political party of his or 11
her choice, and the automatic tabulating equipment or machine rejects any ballot on 12
which votes are cast in the primary of more than one recognized political party, 13
except where a party designation is made or where an elector casts write-in votes 14
for candidates of more than one party on a ballot that is distributed to the elector.
6.80 (2) (am) of the statutes is amended to read:
(am) In partisan primaries, except with respect to the offices of U.S.
17senator and U.S. representative in Congress,
an elector may vote for a person as the 18
candidate of the party of the elector's choice, if that person's name does not appear 19
on the official ballot of that party, by writing in the name of the person in the space 20
provided on the ballot or the ballot provided for that purpose, or where voting 21
machines are used, in the irregular ballot device, designating the party for which the 22
elector desires such person to be the nominee.
6.80 (2) (g) of the statutes is created to read: