Types of Complaints
Each type of sworn complaint is described in detail below to help you find one that best fits your situation.
Any person may file a complaint alleging a violation of election law such as electioneering, distributing election-related materials at active polling locations, false statements affecting elections, voter intimidation, bribery and election fraud. If you are filing a complaint against an election official, consider whether filing a 5.06 complaint would be a more appropriate course of action.
Under Wis. Stats. §§ 5.05(5s), 12.13(5), and 12.60(1)(bm), the WEC is required to keep Wis. Stat. § 5.05 complaints confidential, and staff do not place those complaints online or comment on them. Parties to a Wis. Stat. § 5.05 complaint have on occasion, been known to provide comment, but the processes are generally kept entirely confidential. In any case, the WEC will not provide comment on a confidential complaint.
When should you file an Official Sworn Complaint under § 5.05?
- If you believe you witnessed:
- Distributing election-related materials at polling locations during an election
- False statements affecting elections
- Voter intimidation
- Election fraud
See full statute here § 5.05 for additional information.
Please note: Even if the Commission finds reasonable belief or probable cause this does not guarantee the complaint will be given to the district attorney or that the district attorney will prosecute.
|Submit Complaint||Receipt and Response||Commission Investigates Complaint||Transferred to District Attorney|
|Day 1||Days 2-21||Time Varies||If Needed, Time Varies|
A voter may file a complaint alleging that an election official has violated the law or abused the official’s discretion regarding nominations, qualifications of candidates, voting qualifications, including residence, ward division and renumbering, recall, ballot preparation, election administration or conduct of elections. A complaint under § 5.06 can also be an appeal of an election official's decision.
When should you file an Official Sworn Complaint under §5.06?
- If you believe an election official has violated the law or abused the official’s discretion, or appeal a decision made by an election official, regarding:
- Qualifications of candidates
- Voting qualifications-based on residency, ward division, or renumbering
- Ballot preparation
- Election administration
- Election Conduct
In order to file a complaint against a local election official, the complainant must be a resident of the jurisdiction or district served by the official.
See full statute here (§5.06) for additional information.
|File Complaint||Response from Accused||Verified Response (optional)||Commission Investigates Complaint||Commission Issues Order|
|Day 1||Day 2-22||Time Varies||Time Varies||If Needed, Time Varies|
1. Fill out EL-1100 Form.
2. List the specific statute that was broken.
3. Notarize the complaint.
4. Email, fax, mail, or deliver the form to the Commission
1. Within 5 days, the Commission acknowledges receipt of the complaint.
2. The accused party is given 10 business days to send a notarized response. 3 additional business days are provided for service.
|1. The complainant can send a notarized reply to the accused response within 10 days.||
1. The Commission analyzes relevant evidence for the complaint.
2. The Commission may either dismiss the complaint or an order may be issued (see next step).
1. The Commission offers resolution to the complaint.
2. Accused party can appeal the decision to the circuit court within 30 days.
Whenever any person believes that a violation of HAVA has occurred, is occurring, or is proposed to occur with respect to an election for national office in Wisconsin, that person may file a written, verified complaint with the Commission.
Complaint Form (EL-1100)
Any person may file an official sworn complaint alleging a violation of Wis. Stat. chs. 5 to 10 or 12 under Wis. Stat. § 5.05. The complaint should include the specific statute(s) you believe has been violated.
Complaints based on word of mouth, social media postings, or other third-party accounts are often difficult to investigate and determine if they are legitimate. Eyewitness accounts or paper/electronic documents generally yield the best results. When filling out the complaint make sure to include all relevant information and supporting documents.
If you are unsure if what you witnessed falls under these categories please contact the Commission by phone or email to help determine if what you witnessed may have been a violation of election law before submitting an official complaint.
Getting Your Complaint Notarized
All sworn complaints submitted to the Wisconsin Elections Commission must be notarized. To get a notary:
Make sure all forms are completed (minus your final signature).
Contact a local bank, UPS store, or attorney. Please note that some of these may charge notary fees ($5 or less).
*The Wisconsin Elections Commission has multiple notaries available to you at no charge. If you need a notary, please contact the Wisconsin Elections Commission to set up a time to meet with a notary.
Bring a photo ID with you, as the notary will have to verify your identity.
The notary will sign and stamp your form and have you sign the form.
Send in the completed and notarized complaint form to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
Submitting Your Complaint
Once your complaint form is completed, please submit it to the Wisconsin Elections Commission by mail, email, fax, or in-person, using the instructions on the form.