Ballot Access

Spring 2017

As a candidate for office, you may find the following information helpful as you prepare for the 2017 Spring Election.

As a candidate, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the election and campaign finance requirements that apply to your campaign, which you may obtain from either the Wisconsin Statutes or from your private attorney. In addition, you may obtain general information about elections from the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Information you receive from the City Clerk’s Office may not be interpreted as legal advice or a release from your responsibility to comply with the law.

Important Dates
December 1, 2016 First day to circulate nomination papers.
December 23, 2016 Deadline for incumbents not seeking re-election to file Notice of Non-Candidacy.
January 3, 2017 All papers and forms due in City Clerk’s Office
February 1, 2017 Last day to register to vote through the mail.
February 16, 2017 Deadline to request absentee ballot by mail for the Spring Primary.
February 21, 2017 Spring Primary, if needed.
March 15, 2017 Last day to register to vote through the mail.
March 30, 2017 Deadline to request absentee ballot by mail for the Spring Election.
April 4, 2017 Spring Election.

Necessary Forms

The following forms must be completed and filed by 5:00 pm on January 3 in order for the candidate’s name to be placed on the ballot for the Spring Primary and/or the Spring General Election:

  • Campaign Registration Statement
  • Declaration of Candidacy
  • Nomination Papers
  • Statement of Economic Interests (municipal candidates)

Campaign Registration Statement

This form should be filed with the City Clerk’s Office prior to announcing your candidacy for office, or no later than the deadline for filing nomination papers. New candidates should file a campaign registration statement as soon as intent to seek elective office is known and before funds are collected or spent – see State Statute 11.05(2g) and 11.10(1). Continuing candidates must file an amended campaign registration statement indicating the office sought and the new primary and election dates. The campaign registration statement must be signed by both the candidate and the campaign treasurer, if a treasurer has been appointed.

Declaration of Candidacy

The declaration of candidacy must include the candidate’s name in the form it is to appear on the official ballot. A candidate may use his or her full legal name or any combination of first name, middle name, initials, or nickname with last name. No abbreviations or titles are permitted.

A nickname is defined as a familiar or shortened form of a proper name by which an individual is commonly known. Names that are not familiar or shortened forms of proper names, such as “Red,” “Skip,” or “Lower Taxes” are not permitted. A nickname is a substitute for the candidate’s legal name. It is not permissible to add the nickname in quotes between the first and last name. For example, John “Jack” Jones is not acceptable, but Jack Jones is acceptable.

Nomination Papers

The first day for circulating nomination papers is December 1, and the deadline for filing nomination papers is 5:00 pm on the first Tuesday in January. This deadline is extended to the first Wednesday in January if the first Tuesday of January is a holiday (§8.10).

Signatures of qualified electors on nomination papers must be obtained between December 1, 2016, and 5:00 pm on January 3, 2017. Please pay careful attention to the signatures you obtain on your nomination papers. All electors signing your nomination papers must live within your district. Those signing do not need to be registered voters, but must be eligible to vote.

Signers must give their complete address (house number, street and municipality – no Post Office boxes), and must list the municipality of residence. Signers must date their signature, including the year. In order for a signature to be valid, state law requires the signer to legibly print his or her name in a space provided next to his or her signature.

Although the person signing the nomination papers must reside within the district, the person circulating the nomination papers does not need to live in the district or municipality. Circulators are only required to be U.S. citizens, age 18 or older on the date of circulation, and not otherwise disqualified as an elector by the provisions in State Statute 6.03.

The circulator must certify the nomination papers after obtaining the signatures. Signatures dated after the date listed by the circulator will not be counted. Nomination papers must be numbered. You may determine whether an address is in your district by checking online at My Vote Wisconsin.

Signatures Required
Office Minimum Maximum Wisconsin State Statute
School Board 100 200 §8.10(3)(km)
Alderperson 20 40 §8.10(3)(j)

Candidates’ names are drawn by lot for order placement on the ballot.

If a potential candidate does not submit all necessary forms and an adequate number of nomination signatures by 5:00 pm on January 3, 2017, his or her name will not be placed on the ballot.

Statement of Economic Interest

A Statement of Economic Interest is required on or before January 3, 2017.

If you have not previously created a “My City of Madison” account, instructions on how to do this can be found at the same link. If you filed electronically last year, your account is already set up and your UserID is your email address.

If you do not have access to a computer, we invite you to visit the City Clerk’s Office and use the dedicated workstation for submitting your electronic form. The City Clerk’s Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Computers are also available at all City of Madison Public Library locations.

Notification of Non-Candidacy

The notification of non-candidacy form is to notify the City Clerk’s Office and the electorate of an incumbent officeholder’s intent to not seek re-election to the same office. Incumbent office holders who do not intend to seek re-election to the same office should file the notification of non-candidacy no later than 5:00 pm on December 23, 2016. If an incumbent not seeking re-election files the notification timely, the nomination paper deadline is unchanged. If the incumbent has a change of mind after filing the notification of non-candidacy, he or she can run for re-election by filing the appropriate ballot access papers by January 3, 2017.

Write-In Candidates

To seek office as a write-in candidate:

  • Download your campaign registration statement from the Wisconsin Elections Commission website at any time.
  • File your campaign registration statement with the City Clerk’s Office as soon as you decide to become a write-in candidate. Write-in votes are counted at the Spring Primary for candidates who file a campaign registration statement by noon on February 17. Write-in votes are counted at the Spring Election for candidates who file a campaign registration statement by noon on March 31.
  • Educate supporters to write your name on the write-in portion of the ballot, under the proper position.

File your forms with:
City Clerk’s Office
City-County Building
210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Room 103