History: 1971 c. 304
s. 29 (1)
, (2); 1973 c. 280
; 1973 c. 334
; 1975 c. 93
; 1977 c. 187
; 1979 c. 221
; 1983 a. 484
; 1985 a. 89
; 1989 a. 88
; 1993 a. 140
; 1995 a. 16
; 1999 a. 150
; 1999 a. 182
; 2001 a. 103
; 2005 a. 451
; 2007 a. 1
; 2011 a. 62
; 2013 a. 160
; 2015 a. 117
; 2017 a. 207
; 2017 a. 321
; 2021 a. 33
See also ss. EL 2.05
, and 6.04
, Wis. adm. code.
A petitioner who timely filed with the county clerk rather than with the State Elections Board under former sub. (6) (a), 1975 stats., was barred from the ballot. State ex rel. Ahlgrimm v. State Elections Board, 82 Wis. 2d 585
, 263 N.W.2d 152
Spring primary. 8.11(1)(a)(a)
A primary may be held in any city for the nomination of candidates for city office. When a majority of all the members of the governing body of a city decide upon a spring primary for any specific election, they shall so provide not later than 3 days after the deadline for filing nomination papers.
Any city may provide by charter ordinance, under s. 66.0101
, that whenever 3 or more candidates file nomination papers for a city office, a primary to nominate candidates for the office shall be held.
Whenever electors, equal to at least 10 percent of the vote for governor in the city at the last general election, file a petition conforming to the requirements of s. 8.40
with the city clerk requesting a primary within 3 days after the deadline for filing nomination papers, there shall be a primary for any specific election.
When the number of candidates for any city office does not exceed twice the number to be elected to the office, no primary may be held for the office and the candidates' names shall appear on the ballot for the ensuing election.
If a village has provided under s. 8.05 (4) (a)
for the filing of nomination papers by candidates for village offices for a specific election, the governing body of the village may, no later than 3 days after the deadline for filing nomination papers, provide for nomination of candidates for village offices at the spring primary.
Any village may provide by charter ordinance, under s. 66.0101
, that whenever 3 or more candidates file nomination papers for a village office, a primary to nominate candidates for the office shall be held.
Whenever the electors of a village, equal to at least 10 percent of the vote for governor in a village at the last general election, file a petition conforming to the requirements of s. 8.40
with the village clerk requesting a primary no later than December 1 preceding the spring election, there shall be a primary for any specific election.
When the number of candidates for any village office does not exceed twice the number to be elected to the office, no primary may be held for the office and the candidates' names shall appear on the ballot for the ensuing election.
A primary shall be held in counties having a population of 750,000 or more whenever there are more than twice the number of candidates to be elected to the office of comptroller.
A primary shall be held in counties having a population of 750,000 or more whenever there are more than twice the number of candidates to be elected to any judicial office within the county or to the county board of supervisors from any one district.
First class city school board.
A primary shall be held in 1st class cities whenever there are more than 2 candidates for member of the board of school directors at-large or from any election district in any year.
A primary shall be held if more than 2 candidates file nomination papers for the office of state superintendent, for justice, for court of appeals judge in the same district or for judge of the same branch of circuit court.
Those offices for which a primary has been held shall have only the names of candidates nominated at the primary appear on the official spring election ballot.
A primary shall be held in an election for county board supervisor whenever 3 or more candidates file nomination papers.
See also ss. EL 2.05
, Wis. adm. code.
Presidential preference vote. 8.12(1)(1)
Selection of names for ballot. 8.12(1)(a)
No later than 5 p.m. on the 2nd Tuesday in December of the year before each year in which electors for president and vice president are to be elected, the state chairperson of each recognized political party listed on the official ballot at the last gubernatorial election whose candidate for governor received at least 10 percent of the total votes cast for that office may certify to the commission that the party will participate in the presidential preference primary. For each party filing such a certification, the voters of this state shall at the spring election be given an opportunity to express their preference for the person to be the presidential candidate of that party.
On the first Tuesday in January of each year, or the next day if Tuesday is a holiday, in which electors for president and vice president are to be elected, there shall be convened in the capitol a committee consisting of, for each party filing a certification under this subsection, the state chairperson of that state party organization or the chairperson's designee, one national committeeman and one national committeewoman designated by the state chairperson; the speaker and the minority leader of the assembly or their designees, and the president and the minority leader of the senate or their designees. All designations shall be made in writing to the commission. This committee shall organize by selecting an additional member who shall be the chairperson and shall determine, and certify to the commission, no later than on the Friday following the date on which the committee convenes under this paragraph, the names of all candidates of the political parties represented on the committee for the office of president of the United States. The committee shall place the names of all candidates whose candidacy is generally advocated or recognized in the national news media throughout the United States on the ballot, and may, in addition, place the names of other candidates on the ballot. The committee shall have sole discretion to determine that a candidacy is generally advocated or recognized in the national news media throughout the United States.
No later than 5 p.m. on the last Tuesday in January of each presidential election year, any person seeking the nomination by the national convention of a political party filing a certification under this subsection for the office of president of the United States, or any committee organized in this state on behalf of and with the consent of such person, may submit to the commission a petition to have the person's name appear on the presidential preference ballot. The petition may be circulated no sooner than the first Tuesday in January of such year, or the next day if Tuesday is a holiday, and shall be signed by a number of qualified electors equal in each congressional district to not less than 1,000 signatures nor more than 1,500 signatures. The form of the petition shall conform to the requirements of s. 8.40
. All signers on each separate petition paper shall reside in the same congressional district.
The commission shall forthwith contact each person whose name has been placed in nomination under par. (b)
and notify him or her that his or her name will appear on the Wisconsin presidential preference ballot unless he or she files, no later than 5 p.m. on the last Tuesday in January of such year, with the commission, a disclaimer stating without qualification that he or she is not and does not intend to become a candidate for the office of president of the United States at the forthcoming presidential election. The disclaimer may be filed with the commission by certified mail, telegram, or in person.
The form of the official ballots shall be prescribed by the commission. The ballot shall provide to an elector the opportunity to vote for an uninstructed delegation to represent this state at the presidential nominating convention of his or her party, or to write in the name of a candidate for the presidential nomination of his or her party.
Reporting of results.
No later than May 15 following the presidential preference primary, the commission shall notify each state party organization chairperson under sub. (1) (b)
of the results of the presidential preference primary within the state and within each congressional district.
The national democratic party has a protected right of political association and may not be compelled to seat delegates chosen in an open primary in violation of the party's rules. Democratic Party of United States v. Wisconsin ex rel. La Follette, 450 U.S. 107
, 101 S. Ct. 1010
, 67 L. Ed. 2d 82
Accessibility of presidential caucuses.
Any political party which holds a caucus open to the public for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national presidential nominating convention of the party shall hold the caucus in a place which is accessible to persons in wheelchairs.
History: 1985 a. 304
Commission city primary.
At the first primary after adoption of the commission form of government the 2 candidates for mayor and the 4 candidates for council members receiving the highest number of votes shall be nominated. At subsequent primaries the 2 candidates receiving the most votes for either office shall be nominated. Only the names of the nominees shall appear on the spring election ballot.
History: 1985 a. 135
s. 83 (2)
Nominations for partisan primary. 8.15(1)(1)
Nomination papers may be circulated no sooner than April 15 preceding the general election and may be filed no later than 5 p.m. on June 1 preceding the partisan primary, except as authorized in this subsection. If an incumbent fails to file nomination papers and a declaration of candidacy by 5 p.m. on June 1 preceding the partisan primary, all candidates for the office held by the incumbent, other than the incumbent, may file nomination papers no later than 72 hours after the latest time prescribed in this subsection. No extension of the time for filing nomination papers applies if the incumbent files written notification with the filing officer or agency with whom nomination papers are filed for the office which the incumbent holds, no later than 5 p.m. on the 2nd Friday preceding the latest time prescribed in this subsection for filing nomination papers, that the incumbent is not a candidate for reelection to his or her office, and the incumbent does not file nomination papers for that office within the time prescribed in this subsection. Only those candidates for whom nomination papers containing the necessary signatures acquired within the allotted time and filed before the deadline may have their names appear on the official partisan primary ballot.
If, under sub. (1)
, an incumbent holding local office files written notification that the incumbent is not a candidate for reelection to his or her office or fails to file a declaration of candidacy within the time prescribed in sub. (1)
, the officer or body with whom the declaration of candidacy is required to be filed shall promptly provide public notice of that fact on the officer's or body's Internet site or, if the officer or body does not maintain an Internet site, by posting notices in at least 3 different locations within the jurisdiction that the officer or body serves.
Only one signature per person for the same office is valid. In addition to his or her signature, in order for the signature to be valid, each signer of a nomination paper shall legibly print his or her name in a space provided next to his or her signature and shall list his or her municipality of residence for voting purposes, the street and number, if any, on which the signer resides, and the date of signing.
All signers on each separate nomination paper for all state offices, county offices, and the offices of U.S. senator and representative in congress shall reside in the jurisdiction or district which the candidate named on the paper will represent, if elected.
The certification of a qualified circulator stating his or her residence with street and number, if any, shall appear at the bottom of each nomination paper, stating he or she personally circulated the nomination paper and personally obtained each of the signatures; he or she knows they are electors of the ward, aldermanic district, municipality or county, as the nomination papers require; he or she knows they signed the paper with full knowledge of its content; he or she knows their respective residences given; he or she knows each signer signed on the date stated opposite his or her name; and, that he or she, the circulator, is a qualified elector of this state, or if not a qualified elector of this state, is a U.S. citizen age 18 or older who, if he or she were a resident of this state, would not be disqualified from voting under s. 6.03
; that he or she intends to support the candidate; and that he or she is aware that falsifying the certification is punishable under s. 12.13 (3) (a)
. The circulator shall indicate the date that he or she makes the certification next to his or her signature. The certification may be made by the candidate or any qualified circulator.
Nomination papers shall be accompanied by a declaration of candidacy under s. 8.21
. If a candidate for state or local office has not filed a registration statement under s. 11.0202 (1) (a)
at the time he or she files nomination papers, the candidate shall file the statement with the papers. A candidate for state office shall also file a statement of economic interests with the ethics commission under s. 19.43 (4)
no later than 4:30 p.m. on the 3rd day following the last day for filing nomination papers under sub. (1)
, or no later than 4:30 p.m. on the next business day after the last day whenever that candidate is granted an extension of time for filing nomination papers under sub. (1)
Each nomination paper shall have substantially the following words printed at the top:
I, the undersigned, request that the name of (insert candidate's last name plus first name, nickname or initial, and middle name, former legal surname, nickname or middle initial or initials if desired, but no other abbreviations or titles) residing at (insert candidate's street address) be placed on the ballot at the (general or special) election to be held on (date of election) as a candidate representing the (name of party) so that voters will have the opportunity to vote for (him or her) for the office of (name of office). I am eligible to vote in (name of jurisdiction or district in which candidate seeks office). I have not signed the nomination paper of any other candidate for the same office at this election.
Each candidate shall include his or her mailing address on the candidate's nomination papers.
The number of required signatures on nomination papers shall be as follows:
For statewide offices, not less than 2,000 nor more than 4,000 electors.
For representatives in congress, not less than 1,000 nor more than 2,000 electors.
For state senators, not less than 400 nor more than 800 electors.
For representatives to the assembly, not less than 200 nor more than 400 electors.
For district attorneys, not less than 500 nor more than 1,000 electors in prosecutorial units over 100,000 population and not less than 200 nor more than 400 electors in prosecutorial units of 100,000 population or less.
For county offices, not less than 500 nor more than 1,000 electors in counties over 100,000 population and not less than 200 nor more than 400 electors in counties of 100,000 population or less.
A candidate may not run in more than one party primary at the same time. No filing official may accept nomination papers for the same person in the same election for more than one party. A person who files nomination papers as the candidate of a recognized political party may not file nomination papers as an independent candidate for the same office at the same election.
Nomination papers shall be filed:
For state offices and the offices of U.S. senator and representative in congress, in the office of the commission.
For county offices, in the office of the county clerk or board of election commissioners.
History: 1971 c. 304
, 29 (1)
, (2); 1973 c. 334
; 1977 c. 107
; 1979 c. 249
; 1983 a. 29
; 1985 a. 304
; 1989 a. 31
; 1993 a. 140
; 1999 a. 182
; 2001 a. 109
; 2005 a. 451
; 2007 a. 1
; 2011 a. 32
; 2013 a. 160
; 2015 a. 117
; 2015 a. 118
, 266 (10)
; 2017 a. 365
; 2017 a. 366
; 2021 a. 33
See also ss. EL 2.09
, and 6.04
, Wis. adm. code.
The ban on multiple party nominations under sub. (7) does not burden the associational rights of political parties and is justified by compelling state interests. Swamp v. Kennedy, 950 F.2d 383
Partisan nominations. 8.16(1)(1)
Except as provided in sub. (2)
, the person who receives the greatest number of votes for an office on a party ballot at any partisan primary, regardless of whether the person's name appears on the ballot, shall be the party's candidate for the office, and the person's name shall so appear on the official ballot at the next election.
A person who receives only write-in votes shall not appear on the ballot as the candidate of a recognized political party for an office whenever no candidate's name appears on the ballot for that office unless the person receives at least 5 percent of the vote cast in the jurisdiction or district for the party's gubernatorial candidate at the last general election or the number of votes equivalent to the minimum number of signatures required on nomination papers for that office under s. 8.15 (6)
, whichever is greater, and unless:
The person files a declaration of candidacy under s. 8.21
no later than 5 p.m. on the 3rd day after notification of nomination is mailed or personally delivered to the person by the filing officer or agency for the office sought;
If the person is a candidate for state office, the person files a statement of economic interests under s. 19.43 (4)
, no later than 4:30 p.m. on the 3rd day after notification of nomination is mailed or personally delivered to the person by the commission; and
If the person is a candidate for state or local office, the person files a registration statement under s. 11.0202 (1) (a)
Independent candidates may not be nominated by write-in votes but shall file nomination papers under s. 8.20
Where the boundaries of a district in which the candidate of a political party seeks office have been changed since the most recent gubernatorial election such that it is not possible to calculate the exact percentage of write-in votes, under sub. (2)
, which are needed by that candidate to become the nominee of the party, the number of votes cast for a political party's nominee for governor at the last general election in each ward or aldermanic district, or each municipality where there are no wards, which is wholly contained within the boundaries of the newly formed district shall be calculated. If a candidate of a political party in a newly formed district does not obtain 5 percent of the number of votes calculated or the number of votes equivalent to the minimum number of signatures required under s. 8.15 (6)
, whichever is greater, the candidate shall not appear on the ballot as the candidate of that party for the office sought.
A recognized political party which participated in the most recent gubernatorial election but loses its ballot position and subsequently regains such position under s. 5.62 (2)
does not cease to be a political party for purposes of qualification under subs. (2)
The persons who receive the greatest number of votes respectively for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor on any party ballot at a primary shall be the party's joint candidates for the offices, and their names shall so appear on the official ballot at the next election.
Nominees chosen at a national convention and under s. 8.18 (2)
by each party entitled to a partisan primary ballot shall be the party's candidates for president, vice president and presidential electors. The state or national chairperson of each such party shall certify the names of the party's nominees for president and vice president to the commission no later than 5 p.m. on the first Tuesday in September preceding a presidential election. Each name shall be in one of the formats authorized in s. 7.08 (2) (a)
See also s. EL 6.04
, Wis. adm. code.
The vote percentage requirement set forth in sub. (2) applies to special partisan primary elections. 61 Atty. Gen. 172.
The five percent requirement of sub. (2) does not violate equal protection nor burden the right to associate and cast votes effectively. Blair v. Hebl, 498 F. Supp. 756
Political party committees. 8.17(1)(a)
Political parties qualifying for a separate ballot under s. 5.62 (1) (b)
shall elect their party committeemen and committeewomen as provided under sub. (5) (b)
. The function of committeemen and committeewomen is to represent their neighborhoods in the structure of a political party. Committeemen and committeewomen shall act as liaison representatives between their parties and the residents of the election districts in which they serve. Activities of committeemen and committeewomen shall include, but not be limited to, identifying voters; assistance in voter registration drives; increasing voter participation in political parties; polling and other methods of passing information from residents to political parties and elected public officials; and dissemination of information from public officials to residents. For assistance in those and other activities of interest to a political party, each committeeman and committeewoman may appoint a captain to engage in these activities in each ward, if the election district served by the committeeman or committeewoman includes more than one ward. In an election district which includes more than one ward, the committeeman or committeewoman shall coordinate the activities of the ward captains in promoting the interests of his or her party.
Each political party shall elect one committeeman or committeewoman from each election district. In this section, each village, each town and each city is an “election district"; except that in cities having a population of more than 7,500 which are divided into aldermanic districts, each aldermanic district is an “election district"; and in cities having a population of more than 7,500 which are not divided into aldermanic districts and villages or towns having a population of more than 7,500, each ward or group of combined wards under s. 5.15 (6) (b)
constituting a polling place on April 15 of the year in which committeemen or committeewomen are elected is an “election district". To be eligible to serve as its committeeman or committeewoman, an individual shall be, at the time of filing nomination papers or at the time of appointment under this section, a resident of the election district which he or she is chosen to represent and shall be at least 18 years of age.
The term of office of each committeeman or committeewoman shall end on the date of the meeting held under sub. (5) (b)
following each partisan primary.
The county committee of each political party shall consist of the duly elected committeemen and committeewomen and appointed committeemen and committeewomen residing in the county.
A combined meeting of the county committee and members in good standing of the party in the county shall be held no sooner than 15 days after the partisan primary and no later than April 1 of the following year. At this meeting, the party committeemen or committeewomen and the county committee offices of chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary and treasurer shall be filled by election by the incumbent committeemen, committeewomen and other party members present and voting, each of whom is entitled to one vote. At this meeting, the county committee shall elect the members of the congressional district committee as provided in sub. (6) (b)
. The secretary of the county committee shall give at least 7 days' written notice of the meeting to party and committee members. Individuals elected as county committee officers or as congressional district committee members may be, but are not required to be, committeemen or committeewomen. They are required to be party members in good standing. The terms of committeemen and committeewomen, county committee officers and congressional district committee members begin during the meeting immediately upon completion and verification of the voting for each office.
A county committee may require that candidates for party committeemen and committeewomen file nomination papers with the county committee prior to the combined meeting under par. (b)
. The form, content and circulation and filing deadlines of the nomination papers shall be established by the county committee.
The secretary of the county committee shall notify the county clerk in writing of the name and address of the elected county committee chairperson within 10 days of his or her election.
The chairperson of the county committee shall notify the chairperson of the state committee of the names and addresses of the individuals elected as congressional district committee members within 10 days of their election.