Skip to main content

Federal and State Registered Write-in Candidates for Partisan Primary and Tallying Write-in Votes

Posted in
Timely Attention Required
July 15, 2014
Wisconsin County Clerks
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
Milwaukee County Election Commission
Diane Lowe, Lead Elections Specialist
Write-in candidate memo for partisan primary.pdf37.06 KB
Registered Write-in Candidates
A list of registered write-in candidates for federal and state offices for the August 12, 2014 Partisan Primary has been posted to the Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) website as an attachment under Elections/Fall 2014 General Election. The Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) will continue to monitor and track the registrations of federal and state office write-in candidates, and the list will be updated as new registrations come in. There is no deadline to register as a write-in candidate, so the list could be updated up to the day of the primary. G.A.B. staff will enter names of state and federal write-in candidates in the Canvass Reporting System. 
County Clerks:
  • Please provide this memo and the latest list of registered write-in candidates to your municipal clerks who may not have internet access.
  • If you have registered county office write-in candidates, please provide the list to your municipal clerks.
  • Please remind all of your municipal clerks to provide their poll workers with the most up-to-date lists.
  • County Clerks will enter votes cast for registered federal and state write-in candidates into the Canvass Reporting System.
Municipal Clerks:
  • Provide your inspectors with the names of registered write-in candidates and their respective offices. 
  • Instruct your inspectors to tally all votes for registered write-in candidates.
  • Instruct your inspectors to tally votes for nonregistered write-in candidates according to the criteria set out in the table above.
  • Instruct your inspectors to keep the list of registered write-in candidates covered. It is not for public display at the polling place. Inspectors may answer questions regarding write-in candidates if directly asked. Inspectors may not volunteer write in candidate information.
Tallying Write-in Votes
As always, votes for registered write-in candidates must always be tallied. However, 2013 Act 178 restricts the circumstances when votes for unregistered write-in candidates may be tallied. Act 178 provides:

One or more candidates listed on the ballot for an office in a given party:
Tally votes only for registered write-in candidates.
    Votes for un-registered write-in candidates are
One or more candidates on the ballot for an office in a given party, but one or more candidates are deceased:
Tally all write-in votes.
No candidates on the ballot for an office in a given party:
Tally all write-in votes.

Inspectors should review the document, Counting Votes at the Partisan Primary This is an excellent guide for determining when a write-in vote should be counted. Once it is determined that the write-in vote may be counted, the circumstances set out in the table above must be considered before tallying the vote. Please see “Counting Votes-and New Legislation” and “Counting Votes Examples located at the same link.
If you have questions, please contact me at 608-266-3276 or