2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 5. Elections — general provisions; ballots and voting systems.
5.85 Receiving, counting, tallying and return of ballots.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 5.85 (2017)

5.85 Receiving, counting, tallying and return of ballots.

(1) At any polling place at which an electronic voting system is utilized, the following procedures for receiving, counting, tallying and return of the ballots shall be used. Whenever paper ballots are utilized at a polling place in combination with ballots employed in an electronic voting system, the paper ballots shall be deposited in a separate ballot box or boxes, according to the types of ballots used. For the purpose of transporting the ballots or the record of the votes cast, the municipal clerk shall provide a secure container for each polling place. At each polling place, the applicable portions of the procedure prescribed for initiating the canvass under s. 7.51 (1) and (2) shall be performed, except that no count of the ballots, except write-in votes and paper ballots used for absentee voting and other purposes authorized by law, may be performed at a polling place if a central counting location is designated for the counting of ballots at that polling place by the municipality.

(2)

(a) The election officials shall examine the ballots or record of votes cast for write-in votes and shall count and tabulate the write-in votes. The election officials shall count write-in votes as provided in s. 7.50 (2) (d). When an electronic voting system is used in which ballots are distributed to electors, before separating the remaining ballots from their respective covering envelopes, the election officials shall examine the ballots for write-in votes. When an elector has cast a write-in vote, the election officials shall compare the write-in vote with the votes on the ballot to determine whether the write-in vote results in an overvote for any office. In case of an overvote for any office, the election officials shall follow the procedure in par. (b).

(b)

1. In case of an overvote for any office, the election officials may either use the override function of the electronic voting system in order to eliminate the votes for the overvoted office, which shall be noted on the inspector's statement, or make a true duplicate ballot of all votes on the ballot except for the office that is overvoted in the manner described in this subdivision. If the election officials make a true duplicate ballot, they shall use an official ballot of that kind used by the elector who voted the original ballot, and one of the marking devices, so as to transfer all votes of the elector except for the office overvoted to an official ballot of that kind used in the ward at that election. Unless election officials are selected under s. 7.30 (4) (c) without regard to party affiliation, whenever election officials of both of the 2 major political parties are present, the election officials acting under this subdivision shall consist in each case of at least one election official of each of the parties.

2. On any original ballot upon which there is an overvote and for which a duplicate ballot is made under subd. 1., the election officials shall, in the space on the ballot for official endorsement, identify the ballot as an “Overvoted Ballot" and write a serial number. On any duplicate ballot produced under subd. 1., the election officials shall, in the space on the ballot for official endorsement, identify the ballot as a “Duplicate Overvoted Ballot" and write a serial number. The election officials shall place the same serial number on each “Overvoted Ballot" and its corresponding “Duplicate Overvoted Ballot," commencing with number “1" and continuing consecutively for each of the ballots for which a “Duplicate Overvoted Ballot" is produced in that ward or election district. The election officials shall initial the “Duplicate Overvoted Ballot" ballots and shall place them in the container for return of the ballots. The “Overvoted Ballot" ballots and their envelopes shall be placed in the “Original Ballots" envelope.

(c) Ballots bearing write-in votes marked in the place designated for write-in votes, bearing the initials of an election official, not resulting in an overvote, and otherwise complying with the election laws as to marking shall be counted, tallied, and their votes recorded on a tally sheet provided by the municipal clerk. Ballots and ballot envelopes shall be separated and all ballots except any that are defective or overvoted shall be placed separately in the container for return of the ballots, along with the ballots marked “Duplicate Overvoted Ballots."

(3) The election officials shall examine the ballots to determine if any is damaged or defective so that it cannot be counted by the automatic tabulating equipment. If any ballot is damaged or defective so that it cannot be properly counted by the automatic tabulating equipment, the election officials, in the presence of witnesses, shall make a true duplicate ballot of all votes on that ballot by using one of the marking devices so as to transfer all votes of the elector to an official ballot of that kind used by the elector who voted the original ballot in that election. Unless election officials are selected under s. 7.30 (4) (c) without regard to party affiliation, whenever election officials of both of the 2 major political parties are present, the election officials acting under this subsection shall consist in each case of at least one official of each of the parties. On any damaged or defective original ballot, the election officials shall, in the space on the ballot for official endorsement, identify the ballot as a “Damaged Ballot" and write a serial number. On the duplicate ballot produced under this subsection, the election officials shall, in the space for official endorsement, identify the ballot as a “Duplicate Damaged Ballot" and write a serial number. The election officials shall place the same serial number on each “Damaged Ballot" and its corresponding “Duplicate Damaged Ballot," commencing with number “1" and continuing consecutively for each of the ballots for which a “Duplicate Damaged Ballot" is produced in the ward or election district. The election officials shall initial the “Duplicate Damaged Ballot" ballots, and shall place them in the container for return of the ballots. The officials shall place “Damaged Ballot" ballots and their envelopes in the “Original Ballots" envelope.

(4) The original ballots shall be preserved with the duplicate ballots and delivered by the inspectors to the municipal clerk. The officials shall then make out a slip indicating the number of electors voting in person, number of absentee ballots deposited in the ballot box, and the total number of electors of each ward served by the polling place who voted at the election, which shall be signed by all the inspectors.

(5) If the municipality has designated a central counting location to be used to count ballots under s. 7.51 (1), the inspectors shall count and deposit the paper ballots in the container. The inspectors shall then place the slip made out under sub. (4) in the container. The inspectors shall also place the tally sheet recording the write-in votes and other votes cast on paper ballots, and all other ballots, or the record of the votes cast on an electronic voting system where no ballots are distributed to electors, in the container and shall thereupon immediately seal the container with an adhesive seal provided by the municipal clerk for the purpose in such manner that the seal completely covers the opening in the container, and each of the inspectors shall sign the seal. The “Defective Ballots" envelope, and “Original Ballots" envelope each shall be securely sealed and the flap or end thereof of each signed by the inspectors and returned to the central counting location with the box for return of the ballots, enclosed ballots and returns. Thereupon, the municipal clerk or 2 of the election officials shall forthwith and by the most direct route transport the container and envelopes to the central counting location designated by the municipal clerk. Unless election officials are selected under s. 7.30 (4) (c) without regard to party affiliation, the election officials shall consist in each case of at least one election official of each of the 2 major political parties, whenever officials of both parties are present.

History: 1979 c. 311; 1989 a. 192; 1997 a. 127; 2001 a. 16; 2005 a. 149; 2013 a. 179; 2015 a. 261.

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