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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 749

   Until "Fighting Bob" LaFollette became Governor of our state,
candidates for public office were selected at caucuses or conven-
tions composed of delegates, of members of a political party, or of
eligible voters. Contrary to popular belief, the Wisconsin nomi-
nating caucuses did not imply political deals hatched in smoke-filled
rooms-the caucus elections were subject to legal regulations
equally as stringent as our modern election laws.
   In most instances, candidates are chosen today in primary elec-
tions; the nominating caucus remains as an optional method for
the selection of town and village office candidates. In all other
cases, aspirants to elective office circulate nomination papers to be
signed by a specified percentage of the voters in the constituency.
   Candidates for town and village offices may be nominated by
caucus or by nomination papers. If a caucus is ordered by the gov-
erning body of the town or village and a person fails to be nomi-
nated by the caucus, he may subsequently file nomination papers;
and his name, with those nominated by the caucus for the same
office, is printed on the ballots. A caucus can only nominate twice
the number of candidates that are to be elected for each office.
   Primary elections are held in Wisconsin to determine the candi-
dates for both the partisan "general elections" held in November
and for the nonpartisan "spring elections" held in April. Primaries
are held for each partisan election regardless of the number of
aspirants to select the candidates of each political party; nonpar-
tisan primaries are required only under certain conditions.
   If 3 or more candidates run for State Superintendent or any
judicial office, a primary election must be held and the names of
the 2 candidates receiving the greatest number of votes are placed
on the ballots for the succeeding election. This is also applicable
to municipalities adopting the system of nominating candidates by
primary election.
   In nonpartisan primaries, the 2 aspirants receiving the highest
number of votes for a specific office are selected as the candidates
for that office in the nonpartisan final election. In partisan pri-
maries, the nominee receiving the highest number of votes be-
comes his party's candidate for the office, but only if the total vote
cast for an office equals 5 per cent of the average party vote cast
in the district for Governor at the last 2 general elections. If the
total vote cast is less than 5 per cent, the name of the candidate
receiving the highest number of votes is placed on ballots for the
final election as an "independent candidate."
  The Partisan "General" Elections. On the first Tuesday after
the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year, the
people of Wisconsin select from among the candidates chosen at
the partisan primary the elected officials of the state and its coun-
ties. The choice is between the single candidates for each political
party who received the highest number of votes for a particular

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