WEC Prepares to Approve Candidate Ballot Access

Riley Vetterkind, @email

MADISON, Wis. – The six members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Tuesday will approve ballot access for the Spring Election and Special Election in Senate District 8 following an intensive staff effort in the document review process that involved more than a dozen personnel and upwards of 150 hours of work. 

In a public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10, WEC Commissioners will perform a final review of the required materials submitted by candidates seeking Spring and Special ballot access, and either approve or deny each candidate’s access to the ballot depending on if they have met the requirements. Candidate ballot access is not official until it is approved by the Commission. A total of 79 candidates for state offices registered for all offices on the ballot in the April election, 72 of whom filed nomination papers with the WEC.

Offices up for election in the Spring non-partisan race include Circuit Court judges, Appeals Court judges, and Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Spring Election may also include municipal and school district races. However, candidates for those offices usually file paperwork with their municipal or school district offices, not the WEC. The only state legislative office up for election in the Special Election is for State Senate in District 8.  

State level candidates who file with the WEC must provide nomination papers, which include a minimum number of signatures of electors; a declaration of candidacy; a statement of economic interest; and a campaign registration statement. The materials must have been submitted by the appropriate deadlines and meet all filing requirements. The statement of economic interest and campaign registration statement are filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Below are the minimum number of signatures required for candidates seeking election this Spring: 

•    Justice of the Supreme Court: 2,000-4,000
•    Court of Appeals Judge and Circuit Court Judge in Milwaukee: 1,000-2,000
•    State Senator: 400-800
•    Circuit Court Judge: 200-400

In recent weeks, WEC staff – as they do during every election cycle – determined which candidates submitted all materials and reviewed them for sufficiency. During the review of nomination papers, staff review all headers, signatures, and circulator information to determine a final count of sufficient signatures. Staff make sure addresses are in the district and confirm that dates written by signers are within the circulation period. 

Some of the reasons signatures may be deemed insufficient include missing or incomplete dates of signers; illegible information; signers live outside the district; or missing or incorrect information in the header. 

Members of the public may challenge a candidate’s nomination papers for insufficiency. Challenges are adjudicated by the six members of the WEC. No challenges were filed with the WEC by the Jan. 6 deadline. 

For more information, see the WEC’s ballot access manual: Candidate Ballot Access Procedures: Nomination Papers | Wisconsin Elections Commission 

To see which candidates have filed ballot access paperwork with the WEC at the following link: Candidate Tracking Reports | Wisconsin Elections Commission

Materials for the Jan. 10 meeting can be found at the following link: Wisconsin Elections Commission January 2023 Meeting | Wisconsin Elections Commission