Anyone, other than a candidate up for election, has the right to observe the conduct of the election and/or an election administration event. Observers may be present at a facility served by special voting deputies, a municipal clerk’s office during in-person absentee voting, at a polling place on Election Day, at a central counting location and at a recount.
What to Expect
A designated observation area at the polling place or other location should permit observers to hear instructions and to readily observe all public aspects of the process without disrupting the activities.
If observers are unable to hear the election inspectors and voters, they may ask for the instructions or information to be repeated.
To ensure the orderly conduct of the election and/or election administration event, or if necessary due to physical limitations of the host location, an election official may limit the number of observers representing the same organization or candidate.
All observers shall be accorded the same respect regardless of their political affiliation or non-affiliation.
Observers should check-in and follow directions from the election official in charge.
|Location||Check-in Required?||Who to check in with|
|Facility served by special voting deputies||Yes||Special voting deputies|
|In-person absentee voting||Yes||Municipal clerk or their designee|
|Polling place during polling hours||Yes||Chief inspector or their designee|
|Central count while processing ballots||Yes||Municipal clerk or their designee.|
Election Observer Log and Identification
An observer shall legibly list their full name, street address and municipality, and the name of the organization or candidate the observer represents, if any, on the Election Observer Log. The observer shall also sign this form acknowledging they understand the rules and will abide by them. Wis. Stat. § 7.41(1).
Additionally, an observer must present photo identification to an election inspector. If the information on the photo identification does not match the information on the observer log, the individual shall not be permitted to serve as an observer.
An observer must wear a tag or badge which reads “Election Observer,” and which shall be worn at all times while in the location.
Observer Rules-at-a-Glance Brochure
The State of Wisconsin permits individuals to observe voting and the election administration process at polling places on Election Day. The Election Observers: Rules-at-a-Glance Brochure outlines the Wisconsin Elections Commission's interpretation of statutes governing the conduct of election observers.