2021 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 7 - Election officials; boards; selection and duties; canvassing.
7.37 - Inspectors' duties.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 7.37 (2021)

7.37 Inspectors' duties.

(1) Adjourn to another location. Whenever it becomes impossible or inconvenient to hold an election at the designated location, the inspectors, after assembling at or as near the designated polling place as practicable and before receiving any votes, may adjourn to the nearest convenient place for holding the election. The inspectors shall make a proclamation of the move and a law enforcement officer or other proper person designated by the municipal clerk shall be stationed at or as near as possible to the place where the adjournment was made, to notify all electors of the place to which the election adjourned. At the new location the inspectors shall immediately proceed with the election.

(2) Preserve order. The inspectors shall possess full authority to maintain order and to enforce obedience to their lawful commands during the election and the canvass of the votes. They shall permit only one person in a voting booth at a time and shall prevent any person from taking notice of how another person has voted, except when assistance is given under s. 6.82. They shall enforce s. 5.35 (5) and prevent electioneering and distribution of election-related material from taking place in violation of ss. 12.03 and 12.035. If any person refuses to obey the lawful commands of an inspector, or is disorderly in the presence or hearing of the inspectors, interrupts or disturbs the proceedings, they may order any law enforcement officer to remove the person from the voting area or to take the person into custody.

(3) Check ballot boxes. Immediately before the proclamation that the polls are open the election inspectors shall open each ballot box in the presence of the people assembled there, turn the boxes upside down so as to empty them of everything that may be inside and then lock them. The ballot boxes shall remain locked and shall not be reopened until the polls close for the purpose of counting the ballots therein.

(4) Balloting procedure. At polling places which utilize paper ballots or electronic voting systems in which ballots are distributed to electors, 2 inspectors shall be assigned to take charge of the official ballots. They shall write their initials on the back of each ballot and deliver to each elector as he or she enters the voting booth one ballot properly endorsed by each of them. Where paper ballots are used, the inspectors shall fold each ballot in the proper manner to be deposited before delivering it to the elector. If asked, inspectors may instruct any elector as to the proper manner of marking the ballot, but they may not give advice, suggestions, express any preferences or make any requests as to the person for whom, the question on which or the ballot on which the elector shall vote.

(5) Improper conduct. Any election official who intentionally fails to properly endorse a ballot or who intentionally gives an elector a ballot not properly endorsed shall be removed as an election official.

(6) Attach stickers. Whenever a vacancy occurs in a nomination after the ballots have been printed and stickers are provided under s. 7.38 or 8.35 (2), the inspectors shall, at the direction of the municipal clerk, properly apply the stickers to the official ballots before endorsement.

(7) Poll lists. Two inspectors shall be assigned to have charge of the poll lists at each election.

(8) Electronic voting systems. Prior to the opening of the polling place, wherever electronic voting systems employing voting devices are used, the inspectors shall place the voting devices in position for voting and examine them to see that they are in proper working order.

(9) Posting sample ballots. Two sample ballots sent by the municipal clerk shall be posted by the inspectors near the entrance to the polling place for public inspection throughout the day.

(10) Challenged electors. If any person is challenged for cause, the inspectors shall proceed under ss. 6.92 and 6.925 and with the aid of other provisions of ch. 6 as appear applicable, shall resolve the challenge.

(11) Spoiled ballots. Any spoiled ballot returned to an inspector under s. 6.80 (2) (c) shall be immediately destroyed by one of the inspectors.

(12) Canvassers. The election inspectors shall constitute the board of canvassers of their polling place and in that capacity shall perform the duties under s. 7.51, except as otherwise designated by the municipal clerk under ss. 5.85 and 5.86.

(13) Closing of polls. For each polling place, the municipal clerk shall designate an official of the municipality who shall position himself or herself at the end of the line of individuals waiting to vote, if any, at the time that the polls officially close. The official may be an appointed inspector who serves at that polling place, an employee of the municipal clerk or a police officer. Only individuals in line ahead of the official shall be permitted to vote under s. 6.78 (4).

History: 1971 c. 304 s. 29 (2); 1975 c. 85; 1977 c. 427; 1979 c. 260, 311, 355; 1981 c. 391; 1983 a. 484 ss. 68, 69, 71 to 73, 172 (3); 1985 a. 304; 1989 a. 192; 1999 a. 182; 2001 a. 16; 2003 a. 265; 2005 a. 451; 2009 a. 180; 2015 a. 261.

The requirement under sub. (4) that each ballot be initialed by 2 inspectors is directory, not mandatory, when the number of votes is equal to the number of electors. Roth v. LaFarge School District Board of Canvassers, 2001 WI App 221, 247 Wis. 2d 708, 634 N.W.2d 882, 01-0160.

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