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Nomination Paper Standards and Review

Posted in
Timely Attention Required
April 11, 2014
Wisconsin County Clerks
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
Milwaukee County Election Commission
Michael Haas, Elections Division Administrator
David Buerger, Elections Specialist
Clerk Communication - Nomination Paper Review 04-11-2014.pdf50.95 KB


2013 Wisconsin Act 160, formerly Assembly Bill 420, has been signed into law and is now effective for all petitions and nomination papers whose initial circulation date is on or after March 29, 2014.  Act 160 requires all nomination papers and other petitions to contain a space for the signer to legibly print his or her name.  In order for a signature to be considered valid, the signer must legibly print his or her name in addition to the other requirements of Wisconsin law.

This new law required the addition of a new column to the standard nomination paper and petition templates (GAB-166 to GAB-174).  As these forms required updating, Board staff also took the opportunity to update them to reflect existing case law as it pertains to the qualifications of circulators and the circulator’s certification.  Please note that the changes to these GAB forms are significant and filing officers should cease distributing the old forms immediately and advise any candidates seeking review of nomination paper forms of the changes.  As explained below, however, G.A.B. staff is recommending that signatures should not be struck as invalid on nomination papers that do not contain the updated circulator certification language, given that the new nomination paper form was only recently posted to the G.A.B. website, after many candidates may have already received approval of their nomination paper forms.

As new information is now required on nomination papers and other election-related petitions, the process for reviewing these documents must also be changed to ensure that candidates and petitioners are submitting sufficient signatures.  This memorandum provides guidance on how to evaluate the legibility of printed names, as well as responding to questions or potential challenges related to a circulator’s qualifications or certification.  G.A.B. staff is issuing this guidance now because the circulation period begins April 15, 2014 for candidates for the fall elections, and staff will seek formal approval of this guidance at the Board’s teleconference on April 17, 2014.

Please see the full memo, attached above.