The 2023 Spring Election will take place on Tuesday, April 4. With three weeks left until the General Election, several offices and referenda will be on the ballot, including but not limited to the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, Madison Alder Districts, and the vote for Madison Mayor. Voters will also see six referendum questions, including the City of Madison Municipal referendum, where Madison voters will be asked to weigh in on whether to stagger alder terms.

The City of Madison referendum on this year's Spring ballot focuses on changes to the order of alder terms and asks the following:

"Shall the Charter Ordinances of the City of Madison be amended to establish staggered two-year terms for members of the Common Council beginning in 2025, with the 2025 Spring Election including one-year terms for alders in even-numbered Districts and subsequent elections the term for all alders shall be two years?"

Currently, alder terms last two years with elections for all districts happening every other year, in odd-numbered years.

If voters vote yes on the municipal referendum to stagger alder terms, alders in even-numbered districts (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20) would be up for election in even-numbered years and alders in odd-numbered districts (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19) would be up for election in odd-numbered years.
If the referendum passes, the 2025 Spring Election shall include one-year terms for alders in even-numbered districts. In subsequent elections, the term for all alders shall be two years.

2025: even-numbered districts, 1 year term, odd-numbered, 2 years
2026: even-numbered districts, 2 years
2027: odd-numbered districts, 2 years

Any changes to the size or terms of the Council must be made by binding referendum. Being a binding referendum, if the majority of voters vote yes on this year’s municipal referendum, this change will take effect in the 2025 Spring Election.

Voting Information

Register to vote

  • March 15th deadline to register to vote by mail or online
  • Register to vote at Clerk’s Office by 5pm on March 31
  • Register to vote on Election Day at your polling location

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About the Madison Common Council

The Common Council’s mission is to represent the residents of Madison by promoting the safety, health, and general well-being of the community, by incorporating the following city core values: Equity, Civic Engagement, Well-Being, Shared Prosperity, and Stewardship. For additional information about the Madison Common Council, please visit:


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