Monday, June 2, 2014 at 5 p.m. is the deadline for candidates to file nomination papers to get on the ballot for the August 12 Partisan Primary and the November 4 General Election. As always, members of the news media are welcome to cover this deadline by staking out the G.A.B. office in Madison, but all the information needed will be available on the agency’s website.
This advisory contains information about how to find out who is running statewide and locally, where to find the documents, what they mean, and when the ballot will be finalized.
To get on the ballot, a candidate must file four documents: a campaign finance registration statement (GAB-1), a Declaration of Candidacy (GAB-162), Nomination Paper for Partisan Office (GAB-168), and a Statement of Economic Interests (GAB-904, also referred to as SEI). For more information about getting on the ballot, the G.A.B. publishes a checklist for state candidates, which can also be helpful for journalists: http://gab.wi.gov/forms/gabis-9.
Candidates for county races such as sheriff, clerk of circuit court and coroner file with the county clerk or the Milwaukee County Election Commission. Candidates for state and federal office –Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Representative in Congress (all districts), State Senator (odd-numbered districts), and Representatives to the Assembly (all districts) – file with the Government Accountability Board.
To find out who has filed paperwork to get on the ballot for state offices, visit the G.A.B. website: http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/2014/fall. There are several attachments at the bottom of the page:
The most helpful document for most journalists will be the Candidates Registered-08.12.2014 Partisan Primary, which also has the date and time it was updated in its title. The document is arranged in several columns, and looks like this:
To get his or her name on this list of candidates, a candidate must have filed a GAB-1 Campaign Finance Registration Statement, which can be viewed at http://cfis.wi.gov. Not everyone who files a GAB-1 follows through with filing nomination papers to get on the ballot. If there is a date in a particular column, it means the candidate filed that paperwork (DoC, SEI, petitions) on that date.
On the right side of the page, the column “Valid Signatures” has the number of valid signatures determined by the G.A.B. staff’s review. If a candidate has filed petitions and the number is a zero, it means staff is still reviewing the petitions. If the “Ballot Status” column says PEND, staff is still reviewing the petitions or is waiting for other paperwork such as the SEI. If it says APR, staff is recommending approval to the G.A.B.
For more detailed information about a candidate’s nomination papers, the Nomination Paper Tracking 08.12.2014 Partisan Primary document can be helpful. It is arranged in order of when the nomination papers were filed. There is also a Supplemental Nomination Paper Tracking 08.12.2014 Partisan Primary document which tracks supplemental nomination papers filed after the initial filing. Candidates will sometimes do this if their first filing is close to the minimum number of signatures required. Staff does not review supplemental nomination papers unless there are problems with the candidate’s original petitions.
How Many Signatures?
Candidates for Governor and other statewide offices must file at least 2,000 valid signatures. Candidates for Congress must file 1,000 signatures. The minimum for State Senate is 400 and for State Assembly is 200.
There are also maximum numbers of signatures a candidate may file: Governor and other statewide offices, 4,000; Congress, 2,000; State Senate, 800; and State Assembly, 400. What this means is that if there are problems within the first 2,000 signatures submitted for Governor, the G.A.B. will only consider an additional 2,000 signatures. The reason for the limits (especially in small districts) is to prevent one candidate from gathering signatures from most of the eligible voters, depriving his opponent of the opportunity to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot. An individual can sign only one candidate’s petition for an office.
- The normal deadline for filings is June 1, but because this is a Sunday, it is moved up one day to 5 p.m., Monday, June 2.
- Paperwork required to be filed by the June 2 deadline are the Declaration of Candidacy and Nomination Paper for Partisan Office. This paperwork must be filed in person – faxes and emails are not acceptable.
- The Statement of Economic Interests must be filed by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 5. The SEI may be filed electronically.
After the 5 p.m. Monday deadline, G.A.B. staff will be working late reviewing nomination papers and periodically updating the reports on the website.
Access to Candidates’ Paperwork
- Because of the volume of paperwork being filed and the tight deadlines, it is not practical to post copies of all the candidates’ documents on the website.
- Copies of the GAB-1 are available at http://cfis.wi.gov.
- Candidates’ Statements of Economic Interests are only available by filling out a request form: http://gab.wi.gov/forms/gab-900-Request-to-Examine-SEI.
- Members of the public and the media may inspect and copy candidates’ nomination papers at the G.A.B. office in Madison.
Certification and Challenges
The Board’s staff reviews all the nomination papers and makes an initial determination of whether the petition is sufficient – it contains enough valid signatures and meets other requirements. For information on the standards the staff uses, there is a memo to the Board starting on page 60 of the May meeting materials.
In addition, any member of the public may challenge the sufficiency of a candidate’s nomination papers by filing a verified complaint with the G.A.B. by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 5. Candidates whose nomination papers are challenged may file responses by 4:30 p.m. on the following Monday, June 9. For more information about the challenge process, here is a link to the G.A.B.’s administrative rule on challenges. G.A.B. staff will review any challenges and responses and will make recommendations to the G.A.B. for its meeting on June 10. At that meeting, the Board will certify the list of candidates for the August 12 Partisan Primary.
Copies of any challenges will be posted on the agency website page for the June 10 G.A.B. meeting: http://gab.wi.gov/about/meetings/2014/june. When they become available, staff reports and recommendations on challenges will be posted online. Because of the tight timeline to evaluate submissions and prepare reports, staff recommendations regarding challenges will likely not be available until the Board meeting.
The Board’s June 10 meeting will be in Room 412 East of the State Capitol in Madison, and will be carried live on Wisconsin Eye (www.wiseye.org). A candidate who disagrees with the Board’s decision can appeal to circuit court for relief.
One issue that is likely to come up for some candidates is the new law requiring a legible, printed name along with each signature on nomination papers. For more information about the law and how the G.A.B. is interpreting it, please see the memo here: http://gab.wi.gov/node/3164.
Candidate Contact Information
The Candidates Registered document contains only the candidate’s name and street address. More detailed contact information, including telephone numbers and email addresses for the candidate and campaign committee, is contained in the GAB-1 Campaign Finance Registration Statement, which is available at http://cfis.wi.gov. Click on “View Registrants” on the left-hand navigation menu and search for candidates by name.
Once the Board has certified the final list of candidates on the ballot on June 10, we will post a spreadsheet on the G.A.B. website containing expanded contact information for all the candidates.
Candidates running for office in the fall election do not have to file campaign finance reports until midnight on July 21. These reports cover the six months between January 1 and June 30, 2014. For a list of campaign finance deadlines and contribution limits, visit this page: http://gab.wi.gov/campaign-finance/limits-deadlines.
One recent important change to campaign finance laws is that Wisconsin’s longstanding $10,000 annual aggregate limit on how much an individual may contribute to Wisconsin candidates and committees has been found to be unconstitutional. While the law is still on the books, the G.A.B. has agreed not to enforce it. More information is available here: http://gab.wi.gov/node/3184.
If you have questions about using CFIS, please give us a call, 608-267-7887, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reid Magney, Public Information Officer, 608-267-7887