Legislation to Allow Municipal Officials to Serve as Election Officials Signed into Law

April 16, 2018

MADISON – Today, Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 85 into law. The bill was authored by Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), Representative Ed Brooks (R- Reedsburg), and Senator Janet Bewley (D-Ashland), to allow municipal officials to serve as election officials. Prior to 2016, it was not unusual for members of City Councils and Village or Town Boards to serve as poll workers on Election Day. The practice was discontinued after an attorney from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities provided a legal opinion that the practice is actually prohibited under state statute.

“The City of Madison alone lost four highly experienced chief polling inspectors due to the new interpretation of the law,” said Representative Lisa Subeck. “This is a simple fix to state law once again allowing local elected officials to serve as election officials, as had previously been the widely accepted practice.”

Prior to AB 85 a member of a municipality's governing body is prohibited to hold another office or position of employment within the city, village or town with only three narrow exceptions. AB 85 adds serving as an election official to the list of exceptions. It does not remove the prohibition currently in place that prevents an elected official from serving as an election official where his or her name is on the ballot.

“For years, local elected officials helped keep our elections running smoothly,” said Rep. Subeck. “As our local communities often struggle to recruit enough poll workers for Election Day, this law will ease that burden by enabling municipal elected officials to again serve in this capacity.”