Working the Polls

An election official is defined as “an individual who is charged with any duties relating to the conduct of an election.” Wis. Stat. § 5.02(4e). This includes chief inspectors, elections inspectors, greeters, tabulators, and high school poll workers. As election officials, poll workers perform a very important public service by enhancing the high quality and integrity of Wisconsin's elections.

Poll Worker Qualification Requirements

    Wis. Stat. §7.30(2)(a) indicates a preference for the Chief Inspector to be a resident of the municipality where they will serve, but offers an exception: “…each chief inspector shall be a qualified elector of the municipality in which the chief inspector serves. If no qualified candidate for chief inspector is available…the person so appointed need not be a qualified elector of the municipality…”

    The municipal clerk chooses the chief inspector, but the statute confines the selection to municipal residents unless no qualified municipal resident is available.

    1. They must be nominated. Once nominated, it is up to the governing body to appoint the inspectors to a two-year term. Election inspector terms run from January 1 of an even-numbered year through December 31 of the subsequent odd-numbered year. Wis. Stat. § 7.31 (4).

    2. Inspectors must be able to read, write and understand the English language.

    3. Inspectors are required to receive training from the municipal clerk within the two years preceding the election event at which the inspector intends to work.

    4. An inspector may not be a candidate for any office to be voted on at an election at which they serve. Wis. Stat. § 7.30 (2)(a).

    5. Election inspectors must be qualified electors of the county served by the polling place in which they work.

    6. The municipal clerk should identify any election inspectors appointed by one of the two major political parties. The chief inspector must ensure that any Election Day tasks which require completion by two election inspectors are represented by each party, whenever possible. Wis. Stat. § 7.30 (2)(a).

    Special note regarding election inspector appointments: It is the opinion of the Commission that election inspectors may not serve at elections where they, their spouse, or immediate family member is a candidate on the ballot or under other circumstances where a candidate’s success or failure to win election would affect the election inspector financially

    Students qualify to serve as election inspectors if they:

    1. Are 16 or 17 years of age

    2. Are enrolled in grades 9 to 12 in a public, private or tribal school or a home-based private educational program.  

    3. Have at least a 3.0 grade point average or the equivalent.

    4. Have the written approval of their parent or guardian.

    5. Have the written approval of the principal of the school in which they are enrolled, if the student has less than a 3.0 grade point average.

    6. Reside in the municipality.

    Students may serve only at polling places that serve their residence.

    Candidates FAQ

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      Candidates file their forms with the filing officer at the level of office they are running for. Federal, Statewide, and multijurisdictional judicial candidates file their Declaration of Candidacy and Nomination Papers with Wisconsin Elections Commission. Statewide, and multijurisdictional judicial candidates file their Campaign Finance Registration Statement and Statement of Economic Interests with Wisconsin Ethics Commission. 

      Anyone can view the list of candidates running for office. For federal, statewide, and multijurisdictional judge positions, Wisconsin Elections Commission publishes and posts the Candidate Tracking by Office report ahead of the election. Voters can view exactly who will be on their ballot on the Type B notice published by the clerks on the Friday before the election. They may also view a sample ballot on MyVote.

      Note: Sample ballots will not appear in MyVote until the list of candidates has been certified and added to the election by the clerks. Voter can expect to be able to view their sample ballot up to two weeks before the election.

      The number of signatures needed to get your name added to the ballot is dependent on the level of office you are running for. Please consult the Ballot Access checklist for the office for federal, statewide, and multi-jurisdictional judicial offices. Local candidates should check with their local filing officers (county, municipal, or school district clerks).