2023 - 2024 LEGISLATURE
May 25, 2023 - Introduced by Representatives Goeben,
Allen, Baldeh, Behnke, Binsfeld, Gustafson, Kitchens, Krug, Maxey,
Michalski, Moses, Murphy, Myers, Nedweski, O'Connor, Schmidt, Steffen,
Subeck, Tittl and Wichgers, cosponsored by Senators Jacque,
and Tomczyk. Referred to Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.
1An Act to create
19.36 (14), 66.0512 and 940.20 (4m) of the statutes; relating
2to: an election official's personal information, battery against election officials,
3whistleblower protection for municipal clerks, county clerks, and election
4officials who witness and report election fraud or irregularities, and providing
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill prohibits public access to records that contain the personally
identifiable information of election officials or election registration officials, except
that a public records custodian may provide access to the name and city and state of
residence of an election official or election registration official. Current law provides
a number of similar exceptions for providing public access to records. For example,
current law limits access to records containing personal information regarding
individuals who hold a state or local public office or the personal information of
applicants for a public position.
Current law also allows access to certain records that are not otherwise
accessible. For example, state agencies and local units of government may provide
records to assist legislative committees. This bill does not affect the operation of that
provision nor other similar provisions.
Under current law, a person who intentionally causes bodily harm to another
person commits the crime of simple battery and is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
Current law provides greater penalties for special circumstances battery, which is
defined as intentionally causing or threatening to cause bodily harm to certain
persons. For example, under current law, a person who intentionally causes bodily
harm to a public officer to influence his or her action or as a result of an action he or
she took is guilty of a Class I felony. This bill makes it a Class I felony to intentionally
cause bodily harm to an election official, election registration official, county clerk,
or municipal clerk who is acting in his or her capacity.
This bill also provides whistleblower protection for municipal clerks, county
clerks, and election officials who witness and report election fraud or irregularities.
Under the bill, “municipal clerk” means a city clerk, town clerk, village clerk, and the
executive director of the city election commission and their authorized
representatives, as well as, in appropriate circumstances, the clerk of a school
district. Under the bill, “county clerk” includes the executive director of the county
board of election commissioners and their authorized representatives. Also, under
the bill, “election official” means an individual who is charged with any duties
relating to the conduct of an election.
The bill prohibits employment discrimination against a municipal clerk, county
clerk, or election official, including by being discharged, disciplined, or demoted, as
a reprisal because the clerk or election official lawfully reported, or is believed to have
reported, witnessing what the clerk or election official reasonably believed to be
election fraud or irregularities.
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
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
19.36 (14) of the statutes is created to read:
19.36 (14) Identities of election officials or election registration officials
Unless access is specifically authorized or required by statute, an authority shall not 4
provide access under s. 19.35 (1) to records containing the personally identifiable 5
information of an election official, as defined in s. 5.02 (4e), or an election registration 6
official, as defined in s. 5.02 (4g), except that an authority may provide access to the 7
name of an election official or election registration official and the city and state 8
where the official resides.
66.0512 of the statutes is created to read:
166.0512 Whistleblower protection for certain disclosures made by
No municipal clerk, as defined in s. 5.02 (10), county clerk, as 3
defined in s. 5.02 (2), or election official, as defined in s. 5.02 (4e), may be discharged, 4
disciplined, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against in regard to employment, 5
or threatened with any such treatment, as a reprisal because the clerk or election 6
official lawfully reported, or is believed to have reported, witnessing what the clerk 7
or election official reasonably believed to be election fraud or irregularities. For 8
purposes of this section, “lawfully reported” means a report of information the 9
disclosure of which is not expressly prohibited by state or federal law, rule, or 10
940.20 (4m) of the statutes is created to read:
940.20 (4m) Battery to election officials, election registration officials,
(a) In this subsection:
1. “County clerk” has the meaning given in s. 5.02 (2).
2. “Election official” has the meaning given in s. 5.02 (4e).
3. “Election registration official” has the meaning given in s. 5.02 (4g).
4. “Municipal clerk” has the meaning given in s. 5.02 (10).
(b) Whoever intentionally causes bodily harm to an election official, election 19
registration official, county clerk, or municipal clerk who is acting in his or her 20
official capacity is guilty of a Class I felony if the person knows or has reason to know 21
that the victim is an election official, election registration official, county clerk, or 22
municipal clerk and the victim does not consent to the harm.