Updates Regarding Spring Primary and Spring Election Contests


Timely Attention Required



Wisconsin County Clerks
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
Milwaukee County Election Commission


Meagan Wolfe, Administrator

Statewide Spring Primary

Three candidates have filed nomination papers for the Office of Supreme Court Justice.  While the candidates will not be certified until the January 14, 2020 meeting of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, staff will be recommending that all three candidates be certified, pending any challenges that might be filed.  Therefore, clerks should plan for a statewide primary in all municipalities.  The Commission will issue its certification following the meeting next Tuesday.

Presidential Preference Primary Candidates

On January 7, the Presidential Preference Selection Committee met to choose candidates for the Presidential Preference Primary to be held with the Spring Election on April 7, 2020.  Pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 8.12, the Committee is comprised of representatives of the Democratic and Republican Parties, and it has the sole discretion to determine which candidates to place on the primary ballot.  The Commission has certified to the Wisconsin Elections Commission the following names to be placed on the ballot:

Democratic Party                

Michael Bennet        Amy Klobuchar        
Joseph Biden            Deval Patrick
Michael Bloomberg        Bernie Sanders
Cory Booker            Tom Steyer
Pete Buttigieg            Elizabeth Warren
John Delaney            Marianne Williamson
Tulsi Gabbard            Andrew Yang

Republican Party

Donald J. Trump

Commission staff will notify the county clerks of the ballot order for the selected candidates when that process is completed but we wanted to advise you of the names which will be on the Presidential Preference Primary ballot for your planning purposes.  Candidates whose names were not chosen by the Committee may petition the WEC for placement on the presidential preference ballot and candidates who were selected may withdraw.  Both deadlines are January 28, 2020.  The names of the presidential candidates will be certified after the January 28 deadline.

Statewide Referendum Election

The Wisconsin Legislature has passed a resolution in two consecutive legislative sessions authorizing a statewide referendum question at the April 7, 2020 Spring Election.  A lawsuit has been filed by the Wisconsin Justice Initiative contesting the Legislature’s action and requesting a court order that the question not be placed on the ballot.  The Court has set a briefing schedule that should result in a decision prior to ballot printing for the Spring Election.  A hearing will be held on February 7, 2020 and the Court will issue a decision either at that time or shortly afterward.  

The Commission is required to send Type A and C notices of referendum certifying the referendum question no later than the first Tuesday in March but will do so as soon as a court decision is issued.  If a referendum will be on the Spring Election ballot, the referendum question must be included in those notices published by county clerks.

If you have questions regarding this communication, please contact the Help Desk at 608-261-2028 or elections@wi.gov.