Ch. 7 Note
NOTE: 2005 Wis. Act 451
, which made major revisions to the election laws, including to Chapter 7, contains an extensive prefatory note explaining the changes.
Ch. 7 Cross-reference
See definitions in s. 5.02
SELECTION AND DUTIES
Compensation of election officials and trainees. 7.03(1)(a)
Except as authorized under this paragraph, a reasonable daily compensation shall be paid to each inspector, voting machine custodian, automatic tabulating equipment technician, member of a board of canvassers, messenger, and tabulator who is employed and performing duties under chs. 5
. Daily compensation shall also be provided to inspectors and inspector trainees for attendance at training programs conducted by the commission and municipal clerks under ss. 7.31
. Alternatively, such election officials and trainees may be paid by the hour at a proportionate rate for each hour actually worked. Any election official or trainee may choose to volunteer his or her services by filing with the municipal clerk of the municipality in which he or she serves a written declination to accept compensation. The volunteer status of the election official or trainee remains effective until the official or trainee files a written revocation with the municipal clerk.
Except as provided in par. (bm)
, any compensation owed shall be paid by the municipality in which the election is held, except that any compensation payable to a technician, messenger, tabulator, or member of the board of canvassers who is employed to perform services for the county shall be paid by the county and compensation payable to any messenger or tabulator who is employed to perform services for the state shall be paid by the commission.
Whenever a special election is called by a county or by a school district, a technical college district, a sewerage district, a sanitary district, or a public inland lake protection and rehabilitation district, the county or district shall pay the compensation of election officials performing duties in those municipalities, as determined under sub. (2)
If a central counting location serving more than one municipality is utilized under s. 7.51 (1)
, the cost of compensation of election officials at the location shall be proportionately divided between the municipalities utilizing the location, except that if all municipalities within a county utilize the location, the compensation shall be paid by the county.
Except as otherwise provided in par. (a)
, special voting deputies appointed under s. 6.875 (4)
and other officials and trainees who attend training sessions under s. 7.15 (1) (e)
or 7.25 (5)
may also be compensated by the municipality where they serve at the option of the municipality.
The amount of compensation of election officials, when authorized or required, shall be fixed by the appropriate county board of supervisors, municipal governing body, or municipal board of election commissioners in cities over 500,000 population. The commission shall fix the amount to be paid any person employed to perform duties for the state. If the commission employs an individual to perform duties which are the responsibility of a county or municipality, the commission shall charge the expense to the county or municipality.
In addition to its duties for ballot arrangement under ch. 5
and date and notice requirements under ch. 10
, the commission shall:
(1) Election forms, voting apparatus. 7.08(1)(a)(a)
Prescribe all official ballot forms necessary under chs. 5
and revise the official ballot forms to harmonize with legislation and the current official status of the political parties whenever necessary. The commission shall include on each ballot form, in the space for official endorsement, markings or spaces for identifying a ballot as an overvoted ballot, a duplicate overvoted ballot, a damaged ballot, or a duplicate damaged ballot, and for writing an identifying serial number. The commission shall provide one copy of each ballot form without charge to each county and municipal clerk and board of election commissioners. The commission shall distribute or arrange for distribution of additional copies. The prescribed forms shall be substantially followed in all elections under chs. 5
Prescribe the necessary standard sample forms and ballot containers to make the canvass, returns, statements and tally sheet statements for all elections the results of which are reportable to the commission under s. 7.60 (4) (a)
, and all other materials as it deems necessary to conduct the elections. The sample forms shall contain the necessary certificates of the inspectors and canvassers with notes explaining their use and statutory basis.
Promulgate rules for the administration of the statutory requirements for voting machines and electronic voting systems and any other voting apparatus which may be introduced in this state for use at elections. Pursuant to such responsibility, the commission may obtain assistance from competent persons to check the machines, systems and apparatus and approve for use those types meeting the statutory requirements and shall establish reasonable compensation for persons performing duties under this paragraph.
As soon as possible after the closing date for filing nomination papers or after the canvass of the primary vote, but no later than the deadlines established in s. 10.06
, transmit to each county clerk a certified list of all candidates on file in its office for which electors in that county may vote. The list shall designate the order of arrangement and contain each candidate's first name, middle initial or initials and last name, unless the candidate on his or her nomination papers or declaration of candidacy specifies that the middle initial be deleted, that a full middle name or former legal surname be substituted for the middle initial, that an initial be substituted for the candidate's first name or that a nickname be substituted for a first or middle name or for a first initial or middle initial or initials, but no other abbreviations or titles are permitted. The list shall also include each candidate's residence and post-office address; the office for which the person is a candidate; and, the party or principle the candidate represents, if any, in 5 words or less. Names of candidates nominated under s. 7.38
shall be certified by the commission upon filing of the necessary papers with it. At any time prior to an election, the commission may transmit an amended certification if a candidate dies or is determined not to qualify for ballot placement.
The certified list of candidates for president and vice president nominated at a national convention by a party entitled to a partisan primary ballot or for whom electors have been nominated under s. 8.20
shall be sent as soon as possible after the closing date for filing nomination papers, but no later than the deadlines established in s. 10.06
As soon as possible after the last Tuesday in January of each year in which there is a presidential election, the commission shall transmit to each county clerk a certified list of candidates for president who have qualified to have their names appear on the presidential preference primary ballot.
(3) Election manual.
Prepare and publish separate from the election laws an election manual written so as to be easily understood by the general public explaining the duties of the election officials, together with notes and references to the statutes as the commission considers advisable. The election manual shall:
Emphasize the fact that election officials should help, not hinder, electors in exercising their voting rights.
Be subject to periodic review and revision when necessary.
(4) Election laws.
Publish the election laws. The commission shall sell or distribute or arrange for the sale or distribution of copies of the election laws to county and municipal clerks and boards of election commissioners and members of the public.
(5) District maps.
Distribute, upon request and free of charge, to any candidate for representative in Congress, state senator, or representative to the assembly a copy of the map or maps received under s. 16.96 (3) (b)
showing district boundaries.
(6) Enforcement of federal voting system standards.
Following each general election, audit the performance of each voting system used in this state to determine the error rate of the system in counting ballots that are validly cast by electors. If the error rate exceeds the rate permitted under standards of the federal election commission in effect on October 29, 2002, the commission shall take remedial action and order remedial action to be taken by affected counties and municipalities to ensure compliance with the standards. Each county and municipality shall comply with any order received under this subsection.
(8) Electors voting without proof of residence or identification or pursuant to court order.
Prescribe a written notice to be distributed to electors who vote under s. 6.96
that informs an elector how to obtain information regarding whether his or her vote has been counted, and if the vote will not be counted, the reason that the vote will not be counted.
(10) Domestic abuse and sexual assault service providers.
Provide to each municipal clerk, on a continuous basis, the names and addresses of organizations that are certified under s. 49.165 (4) (a)
or 165.93 (4) (a)
to provide services to victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault.
(11) Coordination with and assistance to local officials.
Allocate and assign sufficient members of its staff to coordinate their activities with local election officials and maintain their availability to respond to inquiries from local election officials for each statewide election and each recount in progress.
(12) Assistance in obtaining proof of identification.
Engage in outreach to identify and contact groups of electors who may need assistance in obtaining or renewing a document that constitutes proof of identification for voting and provide assistance to the electors in obtaining or renewing that document.
History: 1971 c. 242
; 1973 c. 334
; 1975 c. 85
; 1977 c. 29
; 1979 c. 89
; 1981 c. 377
; 1983 a. 51
; 1985 a. 120
; 1989 a. 192
; 1993 a. 140
; 1995 a. 16
; 1997 a. 27
; 1999 a. 49
; 2001 a. 16
; 2003 a. 265
; 2005 a. 177
; 2007 a. 1
; 2009 a. 28
; 2011 a. 23
; 2013 a. 179
; 2015 a. 118
, 266 (10)
; 2015 a. 261
; 2017 a. 366
Election supplies and ballots. 7.10(1)(a)(a)
Each county clerk shall provide ballots for every election in the county for all national, state and county offices, including metropolitan sewerage commission elections under s. 200.09 (11) (am)
, for municipal judges elected under s. 755.01 (4)
and for state and county referenda. The official and sample ballots shall be prepared in substantially the same form as those prescribed by the commission under s. 7.08 (1) (a)
The county clerk shall supply sufficient election supplies for national, state and county elections to municipalities within the county. The election supplies shall be enclosed in the sealed package containing the official ballots and delivered to the municipal clerk.
With county board approval any county clerk may purchase or print the official forms of nomination papers for distribution to any person at cost or free.
The county clerk may receive and store any unused ballots after an election upon request of any municipal clerk of a municipality within the county, and may destroy such ballots pursuant to s. 7.23 (1) (am)
(2) Preparing ballots.
The county clerk shall prepare copy for the official ballots immediately upon receipt of the certified list of candidates' names from the commission. Names certified by the commission shall be arranged in the order certified. The county clerk shall place the names of all candidates filed in the clerk's office or certified to the clerk by the commission on the proper ballot or ballots under the appropriate office and party titles. The county clerk shall prepare a special ballot under s. 5.60 (8)
showing only the candidates in the presidential preference primary.
The county clerk shall distribute the ballots to the municipal clerks no later than 48 days before each partisan primary and general election and no later than 22 days before each other primary and election, except that the clerk shall distribute the ballots under sub. (2)
for the presidential preference primary no later 48 days before the presidential preference primary. Election forms prepared by the commission shall be distributed at the same time. If the commission transmits an amended certification under s. 7.08 (2) (a)
or if the commission or a court orders a ballot error to be corrected under s. 5.06 (6)
or 5.72 (3)
after ballots have been distributed, the county clerk shall distribute corrected ballots to the municipal clerks as soon as possible.
The county clerk shall distribute an adequate supply of separately wrapped official ballots to each municipal clerk so the municipal clerk may supply ballots to absent elector applicants. The remaining ballots shall be sent in separately sealed packages clearly designating the ward for which each is intended and the approximate number of ballots of each kind enclosed.
(4) Resolving notice doubts.
When in doubt as to compliance with the statutory requirements for election notices or the correct fees to be paid for them, the county clerk may consult the commission.
(6) Municipal judge; certified list.
If candidates for the office of a municipal judge who is elected under s. 755.01 (4)
file nomination papers in the office of the county clerk and any municipality served by the judge prepares its own ballots for voting machines or an electronic voting system, the county clerk shall certify to the municipal clerk of that municipality the names of the candidates for judge as soon as possible after the last day for filing nomination papers and after certification by the county board of canvassers of the results of any primary election.
(7) Voter education.
Each county clerk shall assist the commission in conducting educational programs under s. 5.05 (12)
to inform electors about the voting process.
(8) Free election information exchange.
Each county clerk shall assist the commission and municipal clerks in maintaining toll-free telephone lines and other free access systems under s. 5.05 (13)
for exchange of voting information.
(9) Training of election officials.
Each county clerk shall assist the commission in the training of election officials under s. 5.05 (7)
(10) Information to commission.
Each county clerk shall provide to the commission any information requested under s. 5.05 (14)
Menominee county; town elections.
The clerk shall prepare a ballot distinguishing between supervisors elected at large and by ward in any county having only one town with a part of the county board members elected by wards.
History: 1971 c. 304
s. 29 (2)
; 1973 c. 334
Municipal clerks. 7.15(1)(1)
Supervise registration and elections.
Each municipal clerk has charge and supervision of elections and registration in the municipality. The clerk shall perform the following duties and any others which may be necessary to properly conduct elections or registration:
Provide for the purchase and maintenance of election equipment.
Prepare ballots for municipal elections, and distribute ballots and provide other supplies for conducting all elections. The municipal clerk shall deliver the ballots to the polling places before the polls open.
Prepare official absentee ballots for delivery to electors requesting them, and except as provided in this paragraph, send an official absentee ballot to each elector who has requested a ballot by mail, and to each military elector, as defined in s. 6.34 (1)
, and overseas elector who has requested a ballot by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile transmission, no later than the 47th day before each partisan primary and general election and no later than the 21st day before each other primary and election if the request is made before that day; otherwise, the municipal clerk shall send or transmit an official absentee ballot within one business day of the time the elector's request for such a ballot is received. The clerk shall send or transmit an absentee ballot for the presidential preference primary to each elector who has requested that ballot no later than the 47th day before the presidential preference primary if the request is made before that day, or, if the request is not made before that day, within one business day of the time the request is received. For purposes of this paragraph, “business day" means any day from Monday to Friday, not including a legal holiday under s. 995.20
Prepare the necessary notices and publications in connection with the conduct of elections or registrations.
Train election officials in their duties, calling them together whenever advisable, advise them of changes in laws, rules and procedures affecting the performance of their duties, and administer examinations as authorized under s. 7.30 (2) (c)
. The training shall conform with the requirements prescribed in rules promulgated by the commission under ss. 7.31
. The clerk shall assure that officials who serve at polling places where an electronic voting system is used are familiar with the system and competent to instruct electors in its proper use. The clerk shall inspect systematically and thoroughly the conduct of elections in the municipality so that elections are honestly, efficiently and uniformly conducted.
Discharge election officials for improper conduct or willful neglect of duties.
In the manner prescribed by the commission, report suspected election frauds, irregularities, or violations of which the clerk has knowledge to the district attorney for the county where the suspected activity occurs and to the commission. The commission shall annually report the information obtained under this paragraph to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2)
Review, examine and certify the sufficiency and validity of petitions and nomination papers.
Direct how and when to destroy the contents of the blank ballot boxes and unused election materials.
Send an absentee ballot automatically to each elector and send or transmit an absentee ballot to each military elector, as defined in s. 6.34 (1)
, and each overseas elector making an authorized request therefor in accordance with s. 6.22 (4)
, 6.24 (4)
, or 6.86 (2)
Reassign inspectors appointed to serve at one polling place to another polling place within the municipality whenever necessary to assure adequate staffing at all polling places. No such reassignment may have the effect of eliminating representation at a polling place by one of the political parties entitled to nominate inspectors under s. 7.30 (2) (a)
(1m) Attend training.
Each municipal clerk shall, at least once every 2 years during the period beginning on January 1 of each even-numbered year and ending on December 31 of the following year, attend a training program sponsored by the commission under ss. 7.31
(2) Municipal election duties. 7.15(2)(a)
In municipal elections, the municipal clerks shall perform the duties prescribed for county clerks by s. 7.10
Cities over 500,000 population may prepare their own official and sample ballots. Official ballots not utilized as absentee ballots shall be printed so they are ready at least 2 days before the election.
With the consent of the county clerk, municipalities may prepare their own ballots whenever voting machines or electronic voting systems are used in elections where candidates for both local offices and national, state or county offices appear on the ballot. This paragraph does not apply to cities under par. (b)
Whenever the governing body of any municipality submits any question to a vote of the electors or whenever a proper recall petition and certificate are filed under s. 9.10
, the municipal clerk shall issue a call for the election and prepare and distribute ballots as required in the authorization of submission or as provided in s. 9.10
. The date of the referendum shall be fixed by the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners unless otherwise provided by law or unless the governing body fixes a date. The ballot for any referendum shall conform to s. 5.64 (2)
. If there is already an official municipal referendum ballot for the election, the question may appear on the same ballot.
(2m) Operation of alternate absentee ballot site.
In a municipality in which the governing body has elected to establish an alternate absentee ballot site under s. 6.855
, the municipal clerk shall operate such site as though it were his or her office for absentee ballot purposes and shall ensure that such site is adequately staffed.
(3) Ballot supply; sample ballots. 7.15(3)(a)
Where voting machines are used or where electronic voting systems are employed, the municipal clerk shall provide at least 2 duplicate sample ballots for each ward in diagram form showing the board or screen inside each voting machine or the front of each ballot as it will appear in the voting machines or booths on election day.
Sample ballots and voting machine ballots shall be furnished to the officials in the ward or election district at least one day before each election.
(4) Recording electors.
Except as authorized in s. 6.33 (5) (a)
, within 30 days after each election, the municipal clerk shall enter on the registration list under the name of each elector of the municipality who has voted at the election an indication of the date of the election in which the elector voted.
(5) Record of ballots received.
Each municipal clerk shall keep a record of when and in what condition the packages containing the ballots were received from the county clerk. The municipal clerk shall deliver to the proper officials the unopened packages of ballots the day before the election.
The municipal clerk shall provide substitute paper ballots in substantially the form of the original ballots whenever the necessary original ballots are not delivered to the municipality, are destroyed, are lost or stolen after delivery, are not ready for distribution or the supply is exhausted during polling hours. The municipal clerk may also provide substitute paper ballots, together with ballot boxes and voting booths, whenever a voting machine or electronic voting system is rendered inoperable by a malfunction which occurs within 24 hours of the time set for opening of the polls. Paper ballots may be cast only in accordance with the procedures prescribed in ss. 6.80 (2)
and 7.37 (4)
Upon receiving the substitute paper ballots accompanied by a statement made under oath by the municipal clerk that the ballots have been prepared and furnished by the clerk to replace the original ballots which are not available, or to substitute for a voting machine or electronic voting system which has been rendered inoperable by a malfunction which occurred within 72 hours of the time set for opening of the polls, the election officials shall use the substitute ballots in the same manner as if they had been original ballots.
(7) Request canvass assistance.
The municipal clerk may request all election officials to assist the inspectors in canvassing the votes received at the respective polling places.
(8) Resolving notice doubts.
When in doubt as to compliance with the statutory requirements for election notices or the correct fees to be paid for them, the municipal clerk may consult the commission.
(9) Voter education.
Each municipal clerk shall assist the commission in conducting educational programs under s. 5.05 (12)
to inform electors about the voting process.
(10) Free election information exchange.
Each municipal clerk shall assist the commission in maintaining toll-free telephone lines and any other free access systems under s. 5.05 (13)
for exchange of voting information.