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Toepel, M. G.; Theobald, H. Rupert (ed.) / The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1962

Wisconsin elections,   pp. [747]-876 PDF (33.6 MB)

Page 748

  The laws governing the election to local, county, and state elec-
tive offices in Wisconsin are set out in Chapters 3 to 12 of the
Wisconsin Statutes. Town, village, city, and school district officers,
the county superintendents of schools, and the State Superintendent
of Public Instruction, and all judicial officers of Wisconsin are
elected on a nonpartisan basis. All other elections to public office
in Wisconsin are on a partisan basis. At some elections, the Wis-
consin voters are also asked to advise the state Legislature or local
legislative bodies on matters of public policy (referenda) or to
ratify or reject an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution.
  The Wisconsin Electorate. Because Wisconsin does not maintain
a statewide register of voters, the exact size of the electorate is
unknown. On April 1, 1960, Wisconsin population over 21 num-
bered 2,354,489, but not all of these were qualified to vote in Wis-
consin elections.
   Under Article III of the Wisconsin Constitution, "every person
of the age of twenty-one years or upwards" may vote in Wisconsin
if he or she fulfills certain other requirements. Beginning with
1956, new residents have been permitted to vote for President and
Vice-President, if eligible to vote at former residence, regardless
of how short a time they have been Wisconsin residents. In state
and local elections, however, the privilege of voting is restricted
to persons who have been residents of the state for at least one
year, and who have resided at least 10 days in the district in which
they offer to vote.
   When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, suffrage was restricted
to white (and emancipated Indian) male residents including immi-
grants not yet naturalized. A referendum approved in November of
1849 extended suffrage to colored male residents. In 1908, the
Wisconsin Constitution was amended to restrict the right to vote
to citizens of the United States. Woman suffrage came with the
19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ratified by Wisconsin
on June 10, 1919).
   Based on a constitutional amendment ratified in 1882, the Wis-
consin Legislature "may provide for the registration of electors."
Today, permanent voter registration in Wisconsin is by law required
for every town, village, or city with a population of 5,000 or more;
for all communities in Milwaukee County regardless of population;
and may by local ordinance be adopted for incorporated municipali-
ties of less than 5,000 population. Municipal voter registration in
Wisconsin does not record the party affiliation of the voter.
   Selection of Candidates. Elections to public office require 3 dis-
 tinct steps: the selection of possible candidates, the election of
 candidates in a primary election, and the general elections in
 which the officeholders are chosen.

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