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State Elections Board

Frequently Asked Questions

This Frequently Asked Questions is being added to all the time. Please check back again for new entries.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1975-01

    Votes cast for an independent candidate cannot be considered to have been cast for a political party for purposes of applying §7.30, Stats. (Issued to Eldon L. Hoel, January 8, 1975)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin
    Act 1 and was reaffirmed on November 11, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 2007-01

    The Elections Board finds that the solicitation of signatures, on a petition that is not related to the election at hand, without any attempt to influence that day’s vote of the voter solicited, is not, per se, “electioneering” within the meaning of §12.03, Stats., and, therefore, not a violation of that statute.

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on June 9, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 2005-01

    A vacancy in the office of municipal judge, caused by the creation of that office by a municipality, is filled on a temporary basis by appointment and on a permanent basis by election at the next spring election following the effective date of the office, if the office takes effect before December 1 and at the spring election following the next spring election if the office takes effect after December 1. (Issued to John Voelker, April 22, 2005)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1995-01

    A vacancy on the Milwaukee Board of Election Commissioners is filled by appointment from a list of nominees submitted by the political party of whom the vacating member was a representative. (Issued to Mark E. Sostarich, May 22, 1995)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on December 17, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1994-01

    A municipality using lever voting machines for an election that includes county, state or national offices or county or state referenda may collect, from the county, a proportionate share of the cost of preparing the ballot for those machines and for the cost of supplies, notices or other materials necessary in preparing or conducting the election, but is not entitled to reimbursement, from the county or state, for a share of the cost of technicians, messengers, tabulators or canvassers employed in that election unless the decision to employ was made by the county or state.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1989-02

    A vacancy on a school board caused by a resignation after a recall petition has been filed with the school district clerk is filled by recall election and may not be filled by appointment by the school board.

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on December 17, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1988-02

    An absentee ballot application should not be denied where it can be reasonably determined from the written information provided that an elector is qualified to vote absentee. (Issued to Mr. Gail Procarione, May 25, 1988)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1986-02

    JOINT NOMINATION PAPERS: the Elections Board will not accept as valid nomination papers that list on one nomination paper the names of all candidates of the same party seeking state office and will not accept party certifications of the names of persons nominated at the party's convention for state office. §§8.l5(1) and (3), Stats. (Issued to Mr. Dennis Boyer, April 30, 1986.)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on February 25, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1981-03

    An incumbent municipal clerk who is running for re-election should not be stationed at the polling place while ballots are being cast. This preserves the integrity of the election, removes the appearance of impropriety and eliminates the opportunity to violate the statutory prohibitions on electioneering. (Issued to Ms. Jesse McKinnon on June 18, 1981)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on June 9, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1981-01

    Questions of elector residence for voting purposes depend on the given facts of a particular situation, taking into consideration the elector's physical presence within the ward or election district and his or her intent to make that their residence for the purpose of voting. (Issued to Ms. Cynthia Tuczynski on January 21, 1981)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on March 26, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1979-01

    The timely filing of a declaration of acceptance, as required under §8.15 (4)(b), Stats., is a condition precedent to the right of a nominee to have his or her name appear on the official ballot. (Issued to Frank J. Bucaida, March 1, 1979)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-08

    Petitions under §9.20, Stats., to place an issue on the general election ballot may be circulated prior to June 1 preceding the election. (Issued to Roney L. Sorenson, April 21, 1976)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin
    Act 1 and was reaffirmed on February 25, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-09

    Municipal clerks may not leave off the name of the ward when having ballots printed. Candidates may elect not to use their first or middle initials on nomination papers or on ballots. Designations such as “Sr.,” “Jr.,” or “III” may be used on nomination papers or on ballots. (Issued to Harold C. Dobberpuhl, April 21, 1976)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1977-04

    Preparation and distribution of absentee ballot applications by candidates and others is permissible. State election law is not applicable to the question of whether such applications may be accepted by the municipal clerk if they carry political messages. §6.86, Stats. (Issued to Dan A. Ramsey, July 21, 1977)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on June 9, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1977-05

    When a vote is not recorded on a voting machine for an elector who registers to vote on a referendum proposal, and there is no evidence that the absence of a recorded vote for the elector is the result of a machine malfunction, the elector should not be counted among the
    total of votes cast from which the majority necessary for passage of the proposal is calculated. (Issued to William Winch, July 21, 1977)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-07

    Scope of prohibition on electioneering at or near polling place on election day. Campaign signs placed on public property within 100 feet of the entrance to a polling place on election day are unlawful. Violative signs may be removed from public property. The mere presence of a candidate at or within 100 feet of the polling place is not prohibited, provided that the candidate does not engage in electioneering. Car-top carriers and campaign buttons bearing campaign messages at or within 100 feet of the polling place are prohibited.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-14

    Dual nomination: When a candidate wins a partisan primary for an office for which he has filed nomination papers and a declaration of acceptance, and also wins, at the same primary, the party's nomination for another office by write-in votes, the candidate may not choose between the nominations, but must appear on the general election ballot as a candidate for that office for which nomination papers and a declaration of acceptance were filed. §§8.03 (1), 8.35 (4)(b), Stats. (Issued to Fred W. Shaffer, August 17, 1978)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1980-01

    A municipality may use a computer generated listing of students provided by a college, technical institute or university to determine the residence of an elector who desires to register at a polling place on election day, provided that the list, certified by the institute of higher education, in conjunction with some other means of identification meets the requirements of §6.55(7)(a), Stats. (Issued to Mr. Robert M. Meyer, June 19, 1980)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-05

    Contributions by a candidate to his own campaign must be given to the candidate’s treasurer like other campaigns. Contributions from a candidate’s family members must be made from the family member’s funds. (Issued to Richard C. Kelly, August 28, 1974)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-02

    A committee may make maximum contributions to a candidate in a primary calculated from his total disbursement limitation in both the primary and election, provided that no further contributions are made after the primary. (Issued to Alfred G. Goldberg, July 24, 1974)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on June 9, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-01

    Local union affiliate which acts solely as a conduit in collecting and transferring predetermined contribution to state organization need not register as a political committee. (Issued to Alfred G. Goldberg, July 30, 1974)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 2003-01

    The filing, with the State Elections Board, of a challenge to a candidate’s nomination, is an act for political purposes and the spending of more than $25 in the submitting of that challenge requires that the person challenging file a registration statement with the Board. The spending by an individual of more than $100 of his or her own money to submit a challenge to a candidate’s nomination precludes the individual from exempt status and requires the individual to file a campaign finance report.

  • El. Bd. Op. 2000-02

    Non-registrants, including corporations, may communicate to the general public their views about issues and/or about a clearly identified candidate, without subjecting themselves to a registration requirement, if the communication does not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate; expenditures which are "coordinated" with a candidate or candidate's agent will be treated as a contribution to that candidate; intra-association communications that are restricted to "a candidate endorsement, a position on a referendum or an explanation of the ass

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-15

    A campaign treasurer holds the power to return residual contributions to donors, in whole or in part, after a campaign has been completed. (Issued to Ervin C. Marquardt, September 25, 1974)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on November 11, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-11

    A political party treasurer may be appointed by a candidate as his campaign treasurer. Separate bank accounts must be maintained so that a candidate's funds are not intermingled with the party treasury. (Issued to Thomas S. Sliek, August 23, 1974)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on November 11, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-10

    The name and address of each contributor making a single contribution of $10 or less need not be recorded by a campaign treasurer, but the treasurer is under a statutory duty to exercise a "good faith" effort to seek to obtain such information if he knows or has reasonable cause to believe that a contributor’s aggregate contribution has or will exceed $10. (Issued to James W. Mohr, Jr., September 19, 1974)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-09

    A campaign worker may make an authorized disbursement exceeding $25 in support of a candidate and receive subsequent reimbursement from the campaign fund by negotiable instrument if the disbursement is verified by a receipt. (Issued to James W. Mohr, Jr., September 19, 1974)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-07

    Nonresidents designating an agent in Wisconsin are not exempted from political registration and reporting. Certain transactions by nonresident committees and groups are not reportable if they can be segregated. Section 11.07 (5), Stats., does not prevent the acceptance of a contribution from any unregistered individual under §11.07 (1), Stats. (Issued to Raymond Majerus, August 28, 1974)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-06

    A candidate-incumbent who distributes business cards to members of the public who are without normal cause to have business with him would be required to include statutory identification. If such a person places newspaper ads identifying himself, the information may also be required, absent a non-political rationale for such placement. (Issued to Richard C. Kelly, August 28, 1974)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on June 9, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-04

    Communications medium offering space to incumbent candidate for newsletter without printing statutory identification does not fall within regulation of campaign finance law. (Issued to James C. Coxe, August 6, 1974)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on March 26, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 2001-01

    Registrants may use drawings as part of a solicitation to a fundraising event, but must report all contributions raised in connection with the solicitation and the event, including the fair market value of any donated prize that is to be awarded as part of the drawing. (Issued to Brady C. Williamson, March 21, 2001)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on May 5, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 2000-01

    A registrant may use a commercial vendor to collect contributions from visitors to the registrant’s web site. The vendor may not exercise any discretion or control over the amount of the contribution or who receives the contribution. The registrant must obtain the information about the contributor to enable the registrant to comply with the disclosure requirements of the campaign finance law. (Issued to R.J. Pirlot, June 21, 2000)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on May 5, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-16

    Out-of-pocket costs assumed by the host of a party held for political purposes are reportable if funds are raised at the party with the knowledge of the host. Such contributions may be made "in-kind" with the consent of a candidate's treasurer. Certain costs of fund-raising events, although reportable, are excludable from disbursement limitations. An item donated for resale is reportable and the gross proceeds of the sale need be reported after the item is sold. (Issued to Kate Barbash, October 31, 1974)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1974-17

    A candidate's personal traveling expenses or the personal expenses of his campaign workers are not reportable. If a candidate or worker is reimbursed for or provided with transportation by his committee or by another party, the actual cost is reportable. A gift of car tops is valued at the replacement cost at time of transfer. (Issued to William P. Vogel, October 31, 1974)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on May 5, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-16

    Legislative newsletters and campaign finance laws: Campaign funds cannot be used to pay any part of the cost incurred for newsletters funded in any part by state funds; Use of state employees on state time to prepare newsletters intended primarily for political purposes is unlawful; Test established for determining whether a state-funded newsletter is primarily for political purposes. §§11.36, Stats., 11.33, Stats., El. Bd. Op. 76-2. (Issued to David E. Clarenbach, December 18, 1976)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-14

    Disclaimers; Political Advertising: Roadside billboards carrying political advertisements must carry disclaimers readable from the road; the party designing, printing and erecting such billboard and the source of the advertisement are each subject to the disclaimer requirement. §11.30 (2), Stats. (Issued to Sandra Hafenbraedl, September 16, 1976)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-13

    Contributions: Use of charge card for contributions over $50 is permissible where such use produces a document identifying the contributor’s name and the amount contributed.§11.16 (2). (Issued to Michael D. Regenfuss, August 25, 1976)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on May 5, 2008. The opinion was codified by 1979 Wisconsin Act 328 at §11.16(2), Stats.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-12

    Distribution of printed materials; "political purposes": Questions of whether officeholder's purchase and distribution of printed materials to constituents are subject to reporting and identification requirements and violative of election bribery statute depends on whether intentions of distributor as to political office, content of materials, time and manner of distribution, pattern and frequency of distribution, and value of materials indicate purchase and distribution are for "political purposes." §§11.01 (16), 11.06, 11.30 (2),12.11, Stats.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-07

    Campaign funds may be utilized only for political purposes as defined in §11.01 (16), Stats. (Issued to Tim Cullen, March 17, 1976)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was revised to make it clear that campaign funds can never be used to supplement a legislator’s office allowance. The opinion below was reaffirmed by the Government Accountability Board on June 9, 2008 and fully incorporates the revisions directed by the G.A.B.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-04

    All statements and reports required by ch. 11, Stats., to be verified may be sworn to before a town, village, city or county clerk or their respective deputies, if any. (Issued to John C. Oestreicher, February 18,1976)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-03

    A separate, segregated fund may not agree with prospective contributors that their contributions will be given to the party or candidate of their choice. (Issued to M. Scott Cisney, February 18, 1976)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-01

    Use of a hall or room without charge need not be reported as an in-kind contribution if the hall or room is also provided without charge to non-political organizations. (Issued to David M. Travis, February 18, 1976)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on May 5, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1975-02

    The state does not occupy University of Wisconsin owned and operated student residences, dormitories and the facilities incidental thereto which are the subject of a housing lease or agreement entered into by the university with its students. Other University of Wisconsin owned or operated facilities are occupied by the state except when the University of Wisconsin enters into an agreement with individuals or groups, to allow those individuals or groups to use the facilities for non-academic purposes. (Issued to Richard A. Hyde, September 16, 1975)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1998-01

    A registered conduit may transfer funds from members’ accounts to political committees (PAC’s) and those transfers will be treated as the contributions from the individual members who authorized the transfers to the PAC in the amount authorized by each member.

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1991-01

    A corporation which acts solely in the nature of a conduit in collecting and transferring the contributions of its employee-agents to the political action committee of the employeeagents' statewide trade association does not make a contribution to that trade association PAC, if none of the expenses of administration or solicitation of those contributions are borne by the corporation and if a list of the contributors and the amounts of their contributions is maintained at each stage of the transfer. (Issued to Brady Williamson, August 12, 1991)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-11

    Establishment of separate segregated fund by affiliated corporations: Where two corporations are independently incorporated but affiliated for certain purposes, they may each establish a separate segregated fund if (1) neither corporation provides money or other assets for the operation of the other's fund, and (2) neither corporation exercises a significant degree of control over the management of the other's fund. §11.38 (l)(a)2., Stats. (Issued to W. Pharis Horton, July 20, 1978)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-10

    Limit on corporate solicitations for separate segregated fund: The $500 annual limit on a corporation's solicitation expenditures for its separate segregated fund may be applied to any period of 12 consecutive months, including the corporation's fiscal year. § 11.38 (1)(a)2., Stats. (Issued to Floyd S. Keene, July 20, 1978)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-01

    Subcommittees of political committees: Local unions may terminate separate registrations and become subcommittees of political action committee operated by a regional affiliate, so long as subcommittees do not engage in financial activity independent of the parent committee and a single depository and treasurer are used. Such subcommittees may act as fund-raising agents for the regional committee, provided they exercise no discretion in transfer of funds to the committee and meet the statutory time deadlines for reporting and transmittal of collected funds to the committee treasurer.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1977-07

    Joint solicitation by federal and state committees: Under a joint solicitation plan, in which collected contributions are allocated by an escrow agent according to a predetermined formula between a state political committee and a committee whose activity is directed exclusively toward federal campaigns, and contributors are advised of such allocation at the time of contribution, (1) the federal committee is not subject to the regulatory and reporting requirements of chapter 11, Stats., (2) the funds allocated to the federal committee are not subject to the regulatory and reporting require
  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-15

    Corporate conduits: A corporation which acts solely as a conduit in collecting and transferring predetermined contributions of its members to a state organization does not violate the prohibition on contributions by corporations. §11.38, Stats., Ops. El.Bd. 74-1, 75-6,76-3, 76-6. (Issued to Robert H. Friebert, December 17, 1976)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-06

    Labor organizations which have incorporated are prohibited by §11.38, Stats., from making political contributions or engaging in political activities other than as expressly permitted therein. (Issued to John A. Lawton, March 17, 1976)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1976-05

    Section 11.16 (2), Stats., is not violated by payroll deduction plan if corporation supplies fund with list of contributors and amounts contributed. Corporation may transmit total payroll deduction in the form of a corporate check if list of names of contributors and amounts contributed is provided to fund. (Issued to Richard S. Gallagher, February 18, 1976)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1975-08

    Discussion of separate segregated funds established pursuant to §11.38 (l)(a) 2., Stats., and their incorporation for purposes of liability. (Issued to Richard S. Gallagher, December 19, 1975)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1975-06

    Establishment and administration of separate segregated funds under §11.38 (l)(a) 2., Stats., discussed. (Issued to Richard S. Gallagher, December 19, 1975)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008. Readers are also directed to GAB §1.06, Wis. Admin. Code, and Chapter 328, Laws of 1979, which specify reporting requirements for corporations.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-13

    Corporate subsidies of candidate appearances: A corporation's provision of facilities, materials, services and beverages in connection with a candidate's political appearance before members of the corporation's separate segregated fund and "other interested persons" is an impermissible corporate contribution or disbursement, rather than a permissible cost of administering the fund.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-15

    Application of contribution limits to affiliated committees: Where affiliated committees are prohibited by the terms of their affiliation with a parent organization from supporting statewide or state legislative office candidates other than those chosen through an endorsement procedure controlled by the parent, the contributions of the affiliated organizations to statewide or state legislative candidates must be charged to the contribution limits of the parent. §11.26, Stats. (Issued to Robert Friebert, August 17, 1978)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1989-01

    Interest income from conduit and PAC depository accounts, properly invested under §11.25(3) Stats., may be used in the same manner as other funds in the account, including payment of administration and solicitation expenses of a conduit if the conduit agreement so provides.

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1988-04

    The exclusion set out in §11.29(1), Stats., and the application of Wisconsin's campaign finance disclosure law is limited to communications from an organization to its members to the exclusion of all others for the purpose of communicating endorsements of candidates, positions on referenda or an explanation of the organization's views and interests. The funding of such communications must be paid for by the organization.

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1988-03

    Independent insurance agents can establish a commission withholding system that will enable participating insurance companies to forward agents' contributions to an agents' PAC, without attributing any of those contributions, or the expenses of maintaining the system to the participating insurance companies. Separate bookkeeping of each individual agent's contributions and pro-rata expenses must be maintained and reported. (Issued to Mr. Steven A. Reidich, October 5, 1988)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1986-03

    Organization or PAC that sponsors a partisan "get out the vote" drive must register with the appropriate filing officer and meet the applicable requirements of the campaign finance law. §11.05(1), Stats. Disbursements used in the drive are not allocable as in-kind expenditures. (Issued to Brady C. Williamson, January 14, 1987.)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on March 26, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1986-01

    JOINT FUNDRAISERS; a political action committee and a conduit may not conduct a joint fundraiser where the contributions are deposited in a single check in an escrow account and an allocation formula is used to divide the contributions. §§11.05(9) and 11.14(1) and (2), Stats. (Issued to Mr. James Buchen, April 30, 1986.)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1982-01

    A corporation sponsoring a nonresident separate segregated fund must register with the Elections Board pursuant to §11.38(1)(a)2., Wis. Stats., and file semi-annual reports disclosing its administrative and solicitation expenses with respect to Wisconsin related campaign finance activities of the separate segregated fund. A corporation may not spend more than $500 annually for solicitation of contributions to its separate segregated fund for Wisconsin related campaign finance activity. (Issued to Mr. James R. Klauser, September 23, 1982)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1980-03

    The separate segregated fund of a corporation or association established pursuant to §11.38(l)(a)2., Stats., may not accept contributions from other corporations to be used solely for the administrative expenses of the separate segregated fund. (Issued to Mr. Peter Coe Christianson. September 18, 1980)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1979-05

    A corporation which establishes and administers a separate segregated fund under §11.38 (l)(a)2., Stats., may purchase and pay premiums on officers' and directors' liability insurance, general liability insurance and fidelity bonds for the fund (Issued to Thomas J. Sobota, December 13, 1979)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on October 6, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1979-04

    The registration, recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the campaign finance law, Chapter 11, Stats., do not apply to a corporation which communicates its views on a general issue which may later become the subject of a referendum question. (Issued to Robert M. Whitney, October 18, 1979)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on March 26, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-09

    Application for and uses of public finance grants: A candidate's own contributions count toward the threshold of individual seed money required for public financing eligibility.  Grants may not be used to purchase services directly from a person or business who or which does not meet the statutory definitions of "printer" or "communications medium."  Withdrawal of an application for a grant prior to the acceptance of a grant is permissible.  Disbursements of a public financing applicant must be allocated between the primary and election according to the ul

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-12

    Prohibition on mass mailings after filing of nomination papers: Secretary of State's office may use state funds for regular mass mailings necessary to carry out duties of office after filing nomination papers and before election, provided that mailings are not directed toward political purposes. §11.33, Stats. (Issued to Terrence S. Waitrovich, July 20, 1978)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on March 26, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1979-02

    Applicability of ch. 11, Stats., to Lawyers' Judicial Endorsement Poll: A poll conducted for the purpose of endorsing candidates in which the only information disseminated to those polled is biographical information on the candidates is not political activity and, therefore, not subject to regulation under ch. 11, Stats. The same is true of a press release indicating the results of the poll. (Issued to Richard S. Gallagher, April 19, 1979)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on March 26, 2008.

  • An Index of Formal Opinions - Elections

    An index of formal opinions - election related issues. 

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-08

    Voluntary committees; public financing: Establishment and operation of voluntary committees; guidelines for distinguishing between contributions and independent expenditures of voluntary committees; prohibition on candidate contributions to voluntary committees acting on his or her behalf; permissibility of such contributions to nonvoluntary committees acting in support of the candidate; use of public grant. §§11.12 (1), 11.16 (1), 11.10, 11.06 (7), 11.31, 11.26, Stats.; GAB 1.42, Wis. Adm. Code. (Issued to Cloyd Porter, June 22, 1978)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-06

    Prohibition on use of filed campaign finance reports and statements. The ban on use of filed reports and statements for solicitation of contributions does not prohibit a candidate from using information gained from reports or statements to inform persons of his or her candidacy and inviting questions on political issues. (Issued to James Mueller, June 11, 1978)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on August 27, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-05

    Effect of Exceeding Personal Contribution Limit on Eligibility for Public Financing: A candidate who has exceeded the limit on contributions to his own campaign after October 21, 1978 is ineligible to receive a public financing grant, even if the candidate's committee reimburses him for the excess amount. §§11.50 (2)(b), 11.26 (10), Stats. (Issued to David M. Travis, May 18, 1978)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on August 27, 2008

  • El. Bd. Op. 1977-06

    Earmarking; committee combining activities as registrant and conduit. A committee's transfer of funds in response to an individual contributor's request that his contribution be used for a specific purpose is an act of earmarking, regardless of whether the request is made after the individual's contribution takes place. Such transfers may be made only if the committee functions as a conduit for the transfers, transferring the identities of the earmarking contributors to the designated recipients along with the earmarked funds.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1977-09

    Fund-raising by committee agents: Where circumstances indicate that one is collecting contributions as agent of a committee, he or she must inform the committee of each collected contribution within fifteen days of its collection and transmit the contribution to the committee's treasurer within fifteen days of its collection. §11.06(4)(c), Stats. (Issued to Wm. Pharis Horton, November 17, 1977)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1977-10

    Scope of disclaimer requirements. The statutory identification of political material required in §11.30 (2), Stats., applies to material which is not produced by mechanical means. (Issued to Eldon J. Broehm, December 15, 1977)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed June 9, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-02

    Multiple Candidate Committees. The personal campaign committee of a candidate seeking more than one office may ensure compliance with contribution limits by either (a) separate bookkeeping and reporting or (b) adherence to the lowest applicable contribution limit. Such committee may not claim the $250 reporting exemption if its total activity, attributable to all offices sought, is over $250. GAB 1.02, Wis. Adm. Code, Sec. 11.05 (2r), Stats. (Issued to Mary Alice Sullivan, March 16, 1978)

  • El. Bd. Op. 1978-03

    Disbursement Limits For Public Financing Applicants: Application of disbursement limits on public financing applicants to pre-campaign and post-campaign disbursements clarified. §11.31 (7), Stats. (Issued to David M. Travis, May 18, 1978)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on August 27, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 77-3

    A national political party committee's payment of compensation to another specifically in exchange for full-time political services performed on behalf of a Wisconsin committee is a contribution, which subjects the national committee to registration and applicable reporting requirements. Such committee's payment of compensation to an employee or employees performing occasional services for a Wisconsin committee, when such services are merely incidental to the work of the employee or employees on behalf of the national committee, is

  • El. Bd. Op. 75-3

    A non-resident political committee is subject to the same registration and reporting requirements as a resident committee but may maintain its campaign depository outside of this state. The term "solicitation" as used in §11.38 (2), Stats., includes those activities which have as their sole purpose and which by their nature or manner result solely in the raising of funds. (Issued to M. Scott Cisney, November 19, 1975)

    This opinion was reviewed by the Government Accountability Board pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 1 and was reaffirmed on May 5, 2008.

  • El. Bd. Op. 75-5

    Contributions of $100 or less received in the form of a check drawn on a joint checking account may be assumed to be from the signer of the check absent evidence to the contrary. Contributions over $100 received in the form of a check drawn on a joint checking account may not be assumed to be from the signer of the check absent evidence to the contrary; instead, the treasurer must affirmatively inquire as to whom the contribution is from. Contributions received in the form of a check drawn on a partnership checking account may not be assumed to be from the signer of the check.

  • El. Bd. Op. 06-1

    Ancillary events, like a golf outing, held in conjunction with a political fundraiser are treated as part of the fundraiser unless the registrant/beneficiary of the fundraiser is able to show that the fundraiser was a separate and independent event. In determining whether ancillary events are separate and independent from a political fundraising event, PAC/Conduit events to raise money for the PAC are evaluated differently from events held to raise money for a candidate.

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