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How to Run for County Office

Candidate Deadlines for 2024 Spring Election

First day for candidates to circulate nomination papers for the 2024 Spring Election

Friday, December 1, 2023

Deadline for incumbents not seeking re-election to file Notification of Noncandidacy (EL-163) with the Milwaukee County Election Commission

Friday, December 22, 2023 by 5:00 p.m.

Deadline for spring candidates to file nomination papers, declarations of candidacy, and campaign registration statements with the Milwaukee County Election Commission

Tuesday, January 2, 2024 by 5:00 p.m.

Deadline for spring candidates to file Statement of Economic Interest (via portal)

Friday, January 5, 2024

Deadline for filing challenges to nomination papers with the Milwaukee County Election Commission

Friday, January 5, 2024

How to Run for County Office

Step 1: File Campaign Finance Registration Statement (CF-1)

Candidates are prohibited from campaign fundraising or incurring campaign expenses until this form has been approved by the Election Commission. This form requires you to:

  • Identify the political office for which you are running.
  • List the bank information for your campaign finance account. You must open and maintain a separate campaign finance account. You cannot co-mingle personal funds and campaign funds unless you have selected a filing exemption (see instructions for declaring exemption on the CF-1 form).
  • Provide the name and contact information for your campaign treasurer. You may act as your own campaign treasurer; however, due to the complexity of completing the forms correctly, the Election Commission encourages you to select someone for this position that has a good familiarity with tracking expenses and revenue.

Step 2: Collect Nomination Signatures

Completed nomination papers must be submitted to the Milwaukee County Election Commission. Candidates are encouraged to submit nomination papers prior to the deadline to allow for enough time to remedy potential issues, like a shortage of valid signatures, prior to the filing deadline.

Read all instructions related to the distribution of nomination papers to ensure that each page of signatures meets circulating requirements. All nomination signatures are reviewed by the Milwaukee County Election Commission and may be challenged by other candidates running for office.

If a signer’s address is not legible or valid, or the person resides outside of the area represented by the officeholder, the signature will be disqualified. While it is not required, candidates are encouraged to collect at least 100 signatures more than the minimum requirement. Candidates are also encouraged to verify the electors' addresses listed on their nomination papers, using Milwaukee County GIS services or MyVote.wi.gov, before submitting them to the Election Commission. Only eligible electors of the jurisdiction or district the candidate seeks to represent should sign the nomination papers. Review nomination papers prior to submission.

Step 3: Complete the Milwaukee Ethics Board Statement of Economic Interests Filing Requirement

All candidates and incumbents seeking re-election are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests (“SEI”) with the Milwaukee County Election Commission no later than the Friday after nomination signatures are due. The SEI will be filed using the MyCounty Customer Portal. If a paper form is filed, the Election Commission shall provide the Ethics Board with a copy of the filing.

Step 4: Complete All Other Election Commission Filing Requirements

You are required to complete and submit the Declaration of Candidacy form (EL-162) and Nomination Papers (EL-168 or EL-169) with sufficient signatures.

These forms are available below, online at the Wisconsin Election Commission's website, elections.wi.gov, or you may obtain a full packet of forms by visiting the Milwaukee County Election Commission, 901 N. 9th Street, Room G10, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233.

Step 5: Certification by the Milwaukee County Election Commission

Nomination paper signatures will be reviewed as soon as they are received, on a first-come, first-served basis. Once an executive review of the nomination papers is completed, the number of valid signatures will be posted on the Election Commission’s website. If the number of valid signatures meets the minimum required for the office sought, and all other required ballot access documents have been received (Campaign Finance Registration, Declaration of Candidacy and Statement of Economics Interests), the candidate’s name will appear on the ballot. If the candidate does not meet the minimum valid signature requirement, the candidate will be notified.

After ballot access is granted, any additional nomination signatures submitted to the Election Commission will be considered “supplemental.” These signatures will not be reviewed nor counted unless the candidate falls below the minimum threshold to make ballot access (may occur should someone else challenge any of the accepted signatures).

If more than two candidates are certified for one office, there will be a primary election for that office. The order of candidate names on the ballot is determined through a random drawing selection process. Notice of the drawing is provided to all candidates and the public is invited to witness this process.

Step 6: Submit Regular Campaign Finance Reports

You must account for all contributions and expenditutres related to your campaign. Unless you have declared exemption (in general, you do not expect to raise or spend over $2,000 on your campaign in a calendar year), you are required to file Campaign Finance Reports. You will receive a courtesy email reminder prior to each filing due date, provided you have made your email address available to the Milwaukee County Election Commission. Campaign finance schedules and reporting requirements can be complex, and they require significant attention to detail and an ability to learn and understand reporting instructions. You are encouraged to select a treasurer that is reliable and organized. All reports must be complete, accurate, and meet full public disclosure requirements. The timeliness of reports is also imperative. Late reports may be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties, including financial penalties.

Candidate Packet Forms

Below is a list of the required forms to run for elected office. The list was created to assist citizens who are considering a bid for elected office, but does not replace the candidate's responsibility to review Chapters 5-12 of the State Statutes governing the election process.
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