5.08   Petition for enforcement.
5.081   Petition for enforcement of voting rights.
5.10   Presidential electors.
5.15   Division of municipalities into wards.
5.18   Enforcement of division requirement.
5.25   Polling places.
5.35   Polling place requirements.
5.36   Notice of voting by individuals with disabilities.
5.37   Voting machine requirements.
5.40   Use of voting machines or systems.
SUBCHAPTER II
BALLOT FORM
5.51   General provisions.
5.52   Multi-candidate elections.
5.53   Voting machine ballots.
5.54   Notice to electors.
5.55   Information.
5.56   Multiple columns and rows.
5.58   Spring primary ballots.
5.60   Spring election ballots.
5.62   Partisan primary ballots.
5.64   General election ballots.
5.65   Special referendum ballots.
5.655   Consolidated ballots.
5.66   Number of ballots.
5.68   Cost of elections.
5.72   Correcting ballot errors.
SUBCHAPTER III
ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS
5.76   Adoption, experimentation or discontinuance of systems.
5.77   Applicable procedures.
5.78   Voting booths.
5.79   Instruction of electors.
5.80   Demonstrator electronic voting system.
5.81   Ballot information; arrangement; absentee ballots.
5.82   Write-in ballots.
5.83   Preparation for use of voting devices; comparison of ballots.
5.84   Testing of equipment; requirements for programs and ballots.
5.85   Receiving, counting, tallying and return of ballots.
5.86   Proceedings at central counting locations.
5.87   Tabulating votes.
5.89   Official return.
5.90   Recounts.
5.905   Software components.
5.91   Requisites for approval of ballots, devices and equipment.
5.92   Bond may be required.
5.93   Administration.
5.94   Sample ballots; publication.
5.95   Elector information.
Ch. 5 Note NOTE: 2005 Wis. Act 451, which made major revisions to the election laws, including to Chapter 5, contains an extensive prefatory note explaining the changes.
subch. I of ch. 5 SUBCHAPTER I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
5.01 5.01 Scope.
5.01(1)(1)Construction of chs. 5 to 12. Except as otherwise provided, chs. 5 to 12 shall be construed to give effect to the will of the electors, if that can be ascertained from the proceedings, notwithstanding informality or failure to fully comply with some of their provisions.
5.01(2) (2) General provisions of election laws apply. The general provisions of chs. 5 to 12 apply to all elections.
5.01(3) (3) Plurality shall elect.
5.01(3)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), in every election to choose any officer, each elector has one vote for each office unless clearly indicated otherwise. The person receiving the greatest number of legal votes for the office shall be declared elected, and the canvassers shall so determine and certify.
5.01(3)(b) (b) In an election to fill a nonpartisan state office, if no names are certified to appear on the ballot, no person may be declared elected.
5.01(4) (4) Tie vote.
5.01(4)(a)(a) If 2 or more candidates for the same office receive the greatest, but an equal number of votes, the winner shall 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 national office or metropolitan sewerage commissioner, if the commissioner is elected under s. 200.09 (11) (am), in the presence of the chairperson of the elections commission or the chairperson's designee.
5.01(4)(b) (b) If, in a primary, 2 or more candidates receive an equal but not the greatest number of votes so that only one of those candidates with equal votes may advance to the final election, the choice shall similarly be made by drawing lots.
5.01(4)(c) (c) The candidates may, if all those tied for the same office are present, draw for themselves. Upon refusal or absence of any of the candidates, the board of canvassers shall appoint a competent person to draw, and upon the results declare and certify the winner.
5.01(4)(d) (d) If a question is submitted to the electors and an equal number of votes are cast for and against adoption, the question fails adoption.
5.01(5) (5) Election of governor and lieutenant governor.
5.01(5)(a) (a) In every general election to choose the governor and the lieutenant governor, each elector shall have a single vote applicable to both offices. The persons receiving the greatest number of legal votes cast jointly for them for governor and lieutenant governor shall be declared elected, and the canvassers shall so determine and certify.
5.01(5)(b) (b) In case 2 or more slates have an equal and the highest number of votes for governor and lieutenant governor, the 2 houses of the legislature shall at the next annual session choose by joint ballot one of the slates so having an equal and the highest number of votes for governor and lieutenant governor.
5.01 Annotation The supreme court has quite consistently construed the provisions of election statutes as directory rather than mandatory so as to preserve the will of the elector. Lanser v. Koconis, 62 Wis. 2d 86, 214 N.W.2d 425 (1974).
5.01 Annotation When 40 percent of registered voters were denied ballots in an election to remove a county seat, the election was set aside even though the outcome probably was not affected. McNally v. Tollander, 100 Wis. 2d 490, 302 N.W.2d 440 (1981).
5.01 Annotation Sub. (1) applies only after an election has been held and the will of the people manifested. City of Chippewa Falls v. Town of Hallie, 231 Wis. 2d 85, 604 N.W.2d 300 (Ct. App. 1999), 99-0832.
5.01 Annotation Only substantial violations of the election law should operate to vacate an election. Carlson v. Oconto County Board of Canvassers, 2001 WI App 20, 240 Wis. 2d 438, 623 N.W.2d 195, 00-1788.
5.02 5.02 Definitions. In chs. 5 to 12, unless the context requires otherwise:
5.02(1c) (1c)“Automatic tabulating equipment" means apparatus which automatically examines and counts votes recorded on ballots or voting machines and tabulates the results.
5.02(1e) (1e)“Ballot" means a ballot label, sheet of paper or envelope on which votes are recorded. The term also includes a sheet or card, filmstrip or other device listing or containing information relative to offices, candidates and referenda which is placed, projected or composed on the board or screen inside a voting machine.
5.02(1q) (1q)“Block" means an area which is the smallest geographic area used by the U.S. bureau of the census for data collection and tabulation.
5.02(2) (2)“County clerk" includes the executive director of the county board of election commissioners and their authorized representatives.
5.02(3) (3)“Educational officer" means the state superintendent and school board members.
5.02(3m) (3m)“Elected official" means an individual who is elected to a national, state or local office.
5.02(4) (4)“Election" means every public primary and election.
5.02(4c) (4c)“Election district" means a municipality that is not divided into wards, except as otherwise provided in s. 8.17 (1) (b).
5.02(4e) (4e)“Election official" means an individual who is charged with any duties relating to the conduct of an election.
5.02(4g) (4g)“Election registration official" means an election official assigned under s. 6.28 (1) (a) or 7.30 to register electors.
5.02(4m) (4m)“Electronic voting system" means a system in which votes are recorded on ballots, and the votes are subsequently counted and tabulated by automatic tabulating equipment. The term also includes a voting machine on which votes are recorded and tabulated by electronic means.
5.02(4s) (4s)“Federal election" means any election at which a national office appears on the ballot.
5.02(5) (5)“General election" means the election held in even-numbered years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November to elect United States senators, representatives in congress, presidential electors, state senators, representatives to the assembly, district attorneys, state officers other than the state superintendent and judicial officers, and county officers other than supervisors and county executives.
5.02(6) (6)“Governing body" means the common council of a city, board of supervisors of a town or board of trustees of a village.
5.02(6m) (6m)“Identification" means any of the following documents issued to an individual:
5.02(6m)(a) (a) One of the following documents that is unexpired or if expired has expired after the date of the most recent general election:
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2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2019 Wis. Act 69 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on January 3, 2020. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after January 3, 2020, are designated by NOTES. (Published 1-3-20)