Does state law prescribe a particular method of governmental body voting?
Generally speaking, with a few exceptions noted below, the answer is
no. State law contains very little direction on the method of voting.
There are no state laws that require any specific order of voting
(seniority, alphabetical, etc.). There is also no statute or case law
addressing whether members of a governmental body may vote by telephone
if unable to be physically present. These situations are best addressed
in rules of the body. However, the League has consistently opined that
members of a governmental body should not be allowed to vote by absentee
ballot or by proxy. See League opinion Governing Bodies 365.
There are a few situations where state law specifies a method of
voting. In cities and villages under a manager form of government, secs.
64.07(4) and 64.15 require that ayes and noes be recorded on the vote
upon every ordinance and resolution. Under 62.11(3)(d), any common
council member can require that a vote be taken by ayes and nays, and
Wis. Stat. sec. 19.88(2) grants the same right to every member of a
governmental body. The one exception is the selection of governmental
body officers (president, chair, secretary, etc.) which may be done by
secret ballot. Wis. Stat. sec. 62.11(3)(d) requires ayes and nays “on
confirmation and on the adoption of any measure assessing or levying
taxes, appropriating or disbursing money, or creating any liability or
charge against the city or any fund thereof” and the recording of aye
and nay votes in the journal. Board of Review determinations of
objections must be by roll call vote. Wis. Stat. sec. 70.47(8)(g).