Petition gathering at polling places

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Apr 3, 2012 No Comments ›› Admin

from GAB memo:

It is permissible to circulate a petition within 100 feet of the entrance to the polling place if it is unrelated to the candidate contests/referenda on the ballot, subject to any separate rules governing the use of and access to the property.

Circulators must refrain from “campaign activity” for any contest on the ballot while on public property within 100 feet of the entrance of a polling place.  This includes any verbal or written statements on a recall petition referring to a candidate or issue on the ballot.

Circulators should not solicit signatures from voters in line to vote, but rather wait until voters are leaving the polling place.

Circulators should not stand in or block the entrance to the building.  G.A.B. recommends circulators remain at least 10 feet from the path of travel.

The G.A.B. has concluded that petitioning in the immediate voting area or within the building containing the polling place is inherently disruptive.  Election officials should order persons petitioning inside the building to leave the building.

The actions of the circulators should not in any way interfere with or distract voters or election officials, interrupt or disturb the election proceedings.

If a circulator is causing a disruption of the polling place, the chief inspector should immediately address the situation and ask the circulator to cease disruptive activity. Circulators who do not cease the disruptive activity will be ordered to leave the polling place and remain outside the 100-foot zone.  If the circulator continues to disrupt the polling place, the chief inspector should contact law enforcement to enforce the order.

….it applies to all petitions (i.e. nomination) not just recall petitions:

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.

Voters for Vinehout

P.O. Box 1274
Eau Claire, WI 54702