Change of election official numbers.
Notwithstanding s. 7.30 (1) (a)
, the governing body or board of election commissioners of any municipality may by resolution reduce the number of election officials and modify or rescind any similar previous action. No such action may reduce the number of officials at a polling place to less than 3.
See also ch. EL 12
, Wis. adm. code.
Service as an election official. 7.33(2)
Service as an election official under this chapter shall be mandatory upon all individuals appointed, during the full 2-year term, after which they shall be exempt from further service as an election official, under this chapter, until 3 terms of 2 years each have elapsed. Municipal clerks may grant exemptions from service at any time.
Every employer shall grant to each employee who is appointed to serve as an election official under s. 7.30
a leave of absence for the entire 24-hour period of each election day in which the official serves in his or her official capacity. An employee who serves as an election official shall provide his or her employer with at least 7 days' notice of application for a leave. The municipal clerk shall verify appointments upon request of any employer.
Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, each local governmental unit, as defined in s. 16.97 (7)
, may, and each state agency shall, upon proper application under sub. (3)
, permit each of its employees to serve as an election official under s. 7.30
without loss of fringe benefits or seniority privileges earned for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (3)
, without loss of pay for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (3)
except as provided in sub. (5)
, and without any other penalty. For employees who are included in a collective bargaining unit for which a representative is recognized or certified under subch. V of ch. 111
, this subsection shall apply unless otherwise provided in a collective bargaining agreement.
Any employee of a local governmental unit, as defined in s. 16.97 (7)
, or state agency who obtains a paid leave of absence under sub. (4)
in order to serve as an election official under s. 7.30
shall certify in writing to the head of the local governmental unit or state agency by which he or she is employed the amount of compensation that the employee receives for such service. Upon receipt of the certification, the head of the local governmental unit or state agency shall deduct that amount from the employee's pay earned for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (2)
when the employee is on a paid leave of absence.
Each employer other than a state agency shall, upon proper application under sub. (3)
, permit each of its employees to serve as an election official under s. 7.30
without loss of fringe benefits or seniority privileges earned for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (3)
, and shall not impose any other penalty upon an employee who serves as an election official, except the employer need not pay wages to an employee for time not worked while the employee is serving as an election official.
Chief inspector's duties.
Subject to the supervision of the municipal clerk or executive director of the board of election commissioners, the chief inspector shall direct the conduct of activities assigned to the inspectors at the polling place. The chief inspector shall refer any question as to the proper procedure to be employed in carrying out the inspectors' duties to the municipal clerk or executive director.
History: 1985 a. 304
Inspectors' duties. 7.37(1)(1)
Adjourn to another location.
Whenever it becomes impossible or inconvenient to hold an election at the designated location, the inspectors, after assembling at or as near the designated polling place as practicable and before receiving any votes, may adjourn to the nearest convenient place for holding the election. The inspectors shall make a proclamation of the move and a law enforcement officer or other proper person designated by the municipal clerk shall be stationed at or as near as possible to the place where the adjournment was made, to notify all electors of the place to which the election adjourned. At the new location the inspectors shall immediately proceed with the election.
(2) Preserve order.
The inspectors shall possess full authority to maintain order and to enforce obedience to their lawful commands during the election and the canvass of the votes. They shall permit only one person in a voting booth at a time and shall prevent any person from taking notice of how another person has voted, except when assistance is given under s. 6.82
. They shall enforce s. 5.35 (5)
and prevent electioneering and distribution of election-related material from taking place in violation of ss. 12.03
. If any person refuses to obey the lawful commands of an inspector, or is disorderly in the presence or hearing of the inspectors, interrupts or disturbs the proceedings, they may order any law enforcement officer to remove the person from the voting area or to take the person into custody.
(3) Check ballot boxes.
Immediately before the proclamation that the polls are open the election inspectors shall open each ballot box in the presence of the people assembled there, turn the boxes upside down so as to empty them of everything that may be inside and then lock them. The ballot boxes shall remain locked and shall not be reopened until the polls close for the purpose of counting the ballots therein.
(4) Balloting procedure.
At polling places which utilize paper ballots or electronic voting systems in which ballots are distributed to electors, 2 inspectors shall be assigned to take charge of the official ballots. They shall write their initials on the back of each ballot and deliver to each elector as he or she enters the voting booth one ballot properly endorsed by each of them. Where paper ballots are used, the inspectors shall fold each ballot in the proper manner to be deposited before delivering it to the elector. If asked, inspectors may instruct any elector as to the proper manner of marking the ballot, but they may not give advice, suggestions, express any preferences or make any requests as to the person for whom, the question on which or the ballot on which the elector shall vote.
(5) Improper conduct.
Any election official who intentionally fails to properly endorse a ballot or who intentionally gives an elector a ballot not properly endorsed shall be removed as an election official.
(6) Attach stickers.
Whenever a vacancy occurs in a nomination after the ballots have been printed and stickers are provided under s. 7.38
or 8.35 (2)
, the inspectors shall, at the direction of the municipal clerk, properly apply the stickers to the official ballots before endorsement.
(7) Poll lists.
Two inspectors shall be assigned to have charge of the poll lists at each election.
(8) Electronic voting systems.
Prior to the opening of the polling place, wherever electronic voting systems employing voting devices are used, the inspectors shall place the voting devices in position for voting and examine them to see that they are in proper working order.
(9) Posting sample ballots.
Two sample ballots sent by the municipal clerk shall be posted by the inspectors near the entrance to the polling place for public inspection throughout the day.
(10) Challenged electors.
If any person is challenged for cause, the inspectors shall proceed under ss. 6.92
and with the aid of other provisions of ch. 6
as appear applicable, shall resolve the challenge.
(11) Spoiled ballots.
Any spoiled ballot returned to an inspector under s. 6.80 (2) (c)
shall be immediately destroyed by one of the inspectors.
The election inspectors shall constitute the board of canvassers of their polling place and in that capacity shall perform the duties under s. 7.51
, except as otherwise designated by the municipal clerk under ss. 5.85
(13) Closing of polls.
For each polling place, the municipal clerk shall designate an official of the municipality who shall position himself or herself at the end of the line of individuals waiting to vote, if any, at the time that the polls officially close. The official may be an appointed inspector who serves at that polling place, an employee of the municipal clerk or a police officer. Only individuals in line ahead of the official shall be permitted to vote under s. 6.78 (4)
The requirement under sub. (4) that each ballot be initialed by two inspectors is directory, not mandatory, when the number of votes is equal to the number of electors. Roth v. LaFarge School District Board of Canvassers, 2001 WI App 221
, 247 Wis. 2d 708
, 634 N.W.2d 882
Vacancies after nomination. 7.38(1)(1)
Except as provided in sub. (4)
, after the death of a candidate nominated for a partisan office, either in a primary or when no primary is required under s. 8.50 (3) (b)
, the vacancy may be filled by the candidate's political party. In the case of county offices, the vacancy shall be filled by the chairperson of the county committee. If no county committee exists, the vacancy shall be filled by the chairperson of the state committee. For other offices, the vacancy shall be filled by the chairperson of the state committee. The appropriate chairperson shall file with the official or agency with whom nomination papers are filed for the office a certificate signed, certified and sworn to the same as an original nomination paper. The certificate shall state the cause of the vacancy, the name of the new nominee and the office for which the nomination is made. A political party may not nominate a candidate for an office for which no person representing that party has filed nomination papers and a declaration of candidacy.
The certificate shall be filed within 4 days of the date of notification of the vacancy and shall have the same effect as original nomination papers.
If the vacancy occurs after ballots have been printed in any county or municipality, the chairperson of the committee filling the vacancy shall supply the municipal clerk with stickers containing the name of the new nominee only. The stickers may be no larger than the space provided on the ballot for the original candidate's name and office.
There can be no vacancy in nomination prior to a party primary, except when no primary is required under s. 8.50 (3) (b)
In the event of failure to file the name of a current state chairperson, as required under s. 8.17 (12)
, the commission may not recognize the state committee for the purpose of filling vacancies under sub. (1)
Any committee may, at its own expense and subject to limitations upon contributions and disbursements under ch. 11
, print a supply of sample ballots, provided each sample ballot includes on its face the information required by s. 11.1303 (2)
and all the names shown on the official ballot. In this section, committee has the meaning given in s. 11.0101 (6)
History: 1987 a. 391
; 2015 a. 117
Public's right to access. 7.41(1)(1)
Any member of the public may be present at any polling place, in the office of any municipal clerk whose office is located in a public building on any day that absentee ballots may be cast in that office, or at an alternate site under s. 6.855
on any day that absentee ballots may be cast at that site for the purpose of observation of an election and the absentee ballot voting process, except a candidate whose name appears on the ballot at the polling place or on an absentee ballot to be cast at the clerk's office or alternate site at that election. The chief inspector or municipal clerk may reasonably limit the number of persons representing the same organization who are permitted to observe under this subsection at the same time. Each person permitted to observe under this subsection shall print his or her name in and sign and date a log maintained by the chief inspector or municipal clerk for that polling place, office, or alternate site.
The chief inspector or municipal clerk may restrict the location of any individual exercising the right under sub. (1)
to certain areas within a polling place, the clerk's office, or alternate site under s. 6.855
. The chief inspector or municipal clerk shall clearly designate observation areas for election observers under sub. (1)
. The observation areas shall be not less than 3 feet from nor more than 8 feet from the table at which electors announce their name and address to be issued a voter number at the polling place, office, or alternate site and not less than 3 feet from nor more than 8 feet from the table at which a person may register to vote at the polling place, office, or alternate site. The observation areas shall be so positioned to permit any election observer to readily observe all public aspects of the voting process.
The chief inspector or municipal clerk may order the removal of any individual exercising the right under sub. (1)
if that individual commits an overt act which does any of the following:
Disrupts the operation of the polling place, clerk's office, or alternate site under s. 6.855
No individual exercising the right under sub. (1)
may view the confidential portion of a registration list maintained under s. 6.36 (4)
or a poll list maintained under s. 6.79 (6)
. However, the inspectors or municipal clerk shall disclose to such an individual, upon request, the existence of such a list, the number of electors whose names appear on the list, and the number of those electors who have voted at any point in the proceedings. No such individual may view the certificate of an absent elector who obtains a confidential listing under s. 6.47 (2)
The commission shall promulgate rules that are consistent with the requirements of sub. (2)
regarding the proper conduct of individuals exercising the right under sub. (1)
, including the interaction of those individuals with inspectors and other election officials.
CANVASS OF RETURNS AND CERTIFICATION
Elector intent. 7.50(1)(1)
Requirements and restrictions. 7.50(1)(a)(a)
Except as provided in s. 7.15 (6)
, only ballots provided by the person authorized to have them printed shall be cast and counted in any election.
When an elector casts more votes for any office or measure than he or she is entitled to cast at an election, all the elector's votes for that office or measure are invalid and the elector is deemed to have voted for none of them, except as provided in par. (c)
and sub. (2) (d)
. If an elector casts less votes for any office or measure than he or she is entitled to cast at an election, all votes cast by the elector shall be counted but no vote shall be counted more than once.
If an elector casts more than one vote for the same candidate for the same office, the first vote is valid and the remaining votes are invalid.
Whenever an electronic voting system is used at a polling place in a partisan primary, and the same ballot is utilized to cast votes for candidates of more than one recognized political party or candidates of a party and independent candidates, if an elector designates a preference for a party or for independent candidates, only votes cast within that preference category may be counted. If an elector does not designate a preference and makes a mark opposite candidates of more than one recognized political party or opposite a candidate in the independent candidates' column and a candidate of a recognized political party, no votes cast by the elector for any candidate for partisan office are valid. Votes for other candidates and votes on ballot questions, if any, shall be counted if otherwise valid.
(2) Ascertainment of intent.
All ballots cast at an election which bear the initials of 2 inspectors shall be counted for the person or referendum question for whom or for which they were intended, so far as the electors' intent can be ascertained from the ballots notwithstanding informality or failure to fully comply with other provisions of chs. 5
. To determine intent:
A ballot cast without any marks may not be counted. A ballot without a mark at the top of a party column may be counted only for persons for whom marks are applicable.
If an elector marks a ballot with a cross (✘
), or any other marks, as |, A, V, O, /, ✓
, +, within the square to the right of a candidate's name, or any place within the space in which the name appears, indicating an intent to vote for that candidate, it is a vote for the candidate whose name it is opposite.
Any apparent erasure of a mark next to the name of a candidate may not be counted as a vote for that candidate if the elector makes another mark next to the name of one or more different candidates for the same office and counting of the mark would result in an excess number of votes cast for the office.
If an elector writes a person's name in the proper space for write-in candidates for an office, it is a vote for the person written in for the office indicated, regardless of whether the elector strikes the names appearing in the same column for the same office, or places a mark by the same or any other name for the same office, or omits placing a mark to the right of the name written in. If an elector is permitted to vote for more than one candidate for the same office in an election and casts one or more write-in votes which, when added to the votes cast for candidates whose names appear on the ballot, exceed the number of votes authorized to be cast for the office, the write-in votes shall be counted and the votes for candidates whose names appear on the ballot may not be counted, unless there are more write-in votes than votes authorized to be cast, in which case no votes may be counted for the office.
Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, write-in votes shall only be counted if no candidates have been certified to appear on the ballot. If a candidate has been certified to appear on the ballot, write-in votes may only be counted for a candidate that files a registration statement under s. 11.0202 (1) (a)
no later than noon on the Friday immediately preceding the election. If a candidate certified to appear on the ballot dies or withdraws before the election, all write-in votes shall be counted. When write-in votes are counted, every vote shall be counted for the candidate for whom it was intended, if the elector's intent can be ascertained from the ballot itself.
In partisan primaries, if an elector writes in the name of an individual on a ballot other than the one on which that individual's name is shown as a candidate, the write-in vote may not be counted.
In the general election or a partisan special election, a write-in vote may not be counted for any candidate if the candidate's name appears on the official ballot, except a write-in vote cast for the same office under which the candidate's name appears if no other similar name appears on the ballot for any office.
In a nonpartisan primary or election using voting machines if an elector is permitted to vote for more than one candidate for the same office, a write-in vote may not be counted if the vote is cast for a candidate whose name appears on the ballot for that office.
The failure by an elector to write in the name of a candidate for the office of vice president of the United States on the general election ballot does not invalidate the elector's vote for any candidate whose name is written in for the office of president of the United States. The failure of an elector to write in the name of a candidate for the office of president of the United States on the general election ballot invalidates the elector's vote for any candidate whose name is written in for the office of vice president of the United States. The failure of an elector to write in the name of a candidate for the office of governor or lieutenant governor on the general election ballot does not invalidate the elector's vote for any candidate whose name is written in for the office of governor or lieutenant governor alone.
If an elector votes for an independent candidate for the office of governor or lieutenant governor but does not vote for any candidate as a running mate of that candidate for the office of lieutenant governor or governor, the vote cast by the elector shall be recorded as a vote cast for both offices and shall not be cumulated with a vote cast by any other elector for the same candidate for the same office jointly with any vote cast for a running mate of that candidate. If an elector votes for independent candidates for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, the vote cast by the elector shall not be cumulated with a vote cast by any other elector for one but not both of the candidates for whom the elector casts his or her vote.
If an elector writes in an individual for an office, it is a vote for that office, even if the elector writes in the name of a different office.
A board of canvassers may use its discretion and make findings only when the standards of a statute do not apply. Sub. (2) (c) minimizes a board's discretion. When there is a qualifying mark in a qualifying place on the ballot, the vote should be counted. Roth v. LaFarge School District Board of Canvassers, 2004 WI 6
, 268 Wis. 2d 335
, 677 N.W.2d 599
Local board of canvassers. 7.51(1)(1)
Immediately after the polls close the inspectors except any inspector appointed under s. 7.30 (1) (b)
shall proceed to canvass publicly all votes received at the polling place. In any municipality where an electronic voting system is used, the municipal governing body or board of election commissioners may provide or authorize the municipal clerk or executive director of the board of election commissioners to provide for the adjournment of the canvass to one or more central counting locations for specified polling places in the manner prescribed in subch. III of ch. 5
. No central counting location may be used to count votes at a polling place where an electronic voting system is not employed. The canvass, whether conducted at the polling place or at a central counting location, shall continue without adjournment until the canvass of all ballots cast and received on or before election day is completed and the return statement is made or, in municipalities where absentee ballots are canvassed under s. 7.52
, until the canvass of all absentee ballots cast and received on or before election day is completed and the return statement for those ballots is made. The inspectors shall not permit access to the name of any elector who has obtained a confidential listing under s. 6.47 (2)
during the canvass, except as authorized in s. 6.47 (8)
The inspectors shall first compare the poll lists, correcting any mistakes until the poll lists agree. The chief inspector and the inspectors who are responsible for recording electors under s. 6.79
shall verify the correctness of the poll lists after the polls close by each signing their name thereto. Where ballots are distributed to electors, the inspectors shall then open the ballot box and remove and count the number of ballots therein without examination except as is necessary to ascertain that each is a single ballot. If 2 or more ballots are folded together so as to appear as a single ballot, the inspectors shall lay them aside until the count is completed; and if, after a comparison of the count and the appearance of the ballots it appears to a majority of the inspectors that the ballots folded together were voted by the same person they may not be counted but the inspectors shall mark them as to the reason for removal, set them aside and carefully preserve them. The inspectors shall then proceed under par. (b)
When during the counting of the ballots cast at an election a majority of the inspectors find that a ballot is so defective that they cannot determine with reasonable certainty for whom it was cast, they shall so mark the ballot and preserve it. The inspectors shall not count the vote cast on the ballot for any office for which they determine the ballot to be defective.
Whenever the number of ballots exceeds the number of voting electors as indicated on the poll list, the inspectors shall place all ballots face up to check for blank ballots. In this paragraph, “blank ballot" means a ballot on which no votes are cast for any office or question. The inspectors shall mark, lay aside and preserve any blank ballots. Except in municipalities where absentee ballots are canvassed under s. 7.52
, if the number of ballots still exceeds the number of voting electors, the inspectors shall place all ballots face down and proceed to check for the initials. The inspectors shall mark, lay aside and preserve any ballot not bearing the initials of 2 inspectors or any absentee ballot not bearing the initials of the municipal clerk. During the count the inspectors shall count those ballots cast by challenged electors the same as the other ballots.
The inspectors shall keep a written statement, in duplicate, of the number of ballots set aside and the number of defective ballots and challenged ballots. The statement shall contain a record of the reasons for setting aside each ballot and the reasons why each defective or challenged ballot is defective or challenged. The inspectors shall certify that the statement is correct, sign it, and attach it to the tally sheets.
Except in municipalities where absentee ballots are canvassed under s. 7.52
, if after any ballots have been laid aside, the number of ballots still exceeds the total number of electors recorded on the poll list, the inspectors shall separate the absentee ballots from the other ballots. If there is an excess number of absentee ballots, the inspectors shall place the absentee ballots in the ballot box and one of the inspectors shall publicly and without examination draw therefrom by chance the number of ballots equal to the excess number of absentee ballots. If there is an excess number of nonabsentee ballots, the inspectors shall place those ballots in the ballot box and one of the inspectors shall publicly and without examination draw therefrom by chance the number of ballots equal to the excess number of those ballots. All ballots so removed may not be counted but shall be specially marked as having been removed by the inspectors on original canvass due to an excess number of ballots, set aside and preserved. When the number of ballots and total shown on the poll list agree, the inspectors shall return all ballots to be counted to the ballot box and shall turn the ballot box in such manner as to thoroughly mix the ballots. The inspectors shall then open, count and record the number of votes. When the ballots are counted, the inspectors shall separate them into piles for ballots similarly voted. Objections may be made to placement of ballots in the piles at the time the separation is made.
If corrected ballots are distributed under s. 5.72 (3)
or 7.10 (3)
, only the votes cast on the corrected ballots may be counted for any office or referendum in which the original ballots differ from the corrected ballots.
Immediately after the polls close, where voting machines are used, the inspectors shall open the registering or recording compartments or remove the record of the votes cast and shall canvass, record, announce and return on the tally sheets and certificates furnished. In recording the votes registered on any counter which, before the opening of the polls, did not register 000, the inspectors shall upon the return sheets subtract the number registered before the polls opened from the number registered when the polls closed. The difference between the 2 numbers is the correct vote for the candidate whose name was represented by the counter, except if the number registered on the counter when the polls closed is smaller than the number registered thereon when the polls opened, the number 1,000 shall be added to the number registered when the polls closed, before the subtraction is made.
Where a voting machine is used which produces a written record of the total votes cast for each candidate or referendum, the written record shall be presumed correct without reference to the total shown on the recorder in making its original statement, unless an error in the record is clearly apparent or unless a candidate at the election, or in the canvass of a referendum an elector who voted at the referendum, requests that the machine be viewed.
The inspectors shall place together all ballots counted by them which relate to any national, state or county office or any state, county or technical college district referendum and secure them together so that they cannot be untied or tampered with without breaking the seal. The secured ballots together with any ballots marked “Defective" shall then be secured by the chief inspector, and, if available, one other inspector whose party affiliation is different than the chief inspector's party affiliation, in the ballot container in such a manner that the container cannot be opened without breaking the seals or locks, or destroying the container. The inspectors shall place the ballots cast under s. 6.97
in a separate, securely sealed carrier envelope which is clearly marked “Section 6.97
ballots". The chief inspector and 2 other inspectors shall sign the carrier envelope. The carrier envelope shall not be placed in the ballot container. The inspectors shall then deliver the ballots to the municipal clerk in the ballot container and carrier envelope.
For ballots which relate only to municipal or school district offices or referenda, the inspectors, in lieu of par. (a)
, after counting the ballots shall return them to the proper ballot boxes, lock the boxes, paste paper over the slots, sign their names to the paper and deliver them and the keys therefor to the municipal or school district clerk. The clerk shall retain the ballots until destruction is authorized under s. 7.23
Where voting machines are used, as soon as the count is complete and fully recorded, the inspectors shall seal, close and lock the machine, or remove the record so it cannot be voted on or tampered with. They shall then proceed to separately canvass and return any paper ballots voted under s. 5.40 (3)
. The inspectors shall count the challenged ballots the same as other ballots. Upon completion of the canvass, the inspectors shall return the paper ballots in a separate envelope marked “Paper Ballots". The inspectors shall place the record of write-in votes cast on the machines in an envelope marked “Write-In Votes". The inspectors shall return the paper ballots and write-in votes along with any printed voting record produced by the voting machines to the clerk under par. (a)
or to the board of election commissioners. The inspectors shall place the envelopes and printed voting record in a properly sealed bag or container, indicating the ward or wards and county.
Except in municipalities where absentee ballots are canvassed under s. 7.52
, all absentee certificate envelopes which have been opened shall be returned by the inspectors to the municipal clerk in a securely sealed carrier envelope which is clearly marked “used absentee certificate envelopes". The envelopes shall be signed by the chief inspector and 2 other inspectors. Except when the ballots are used in a municipal or school district election only, the municipal clerk shall transmit the used envelopes to the county clerk.