Elections FAQ 3
Villages. In general, candidates for elected village offices are nominated by village caucus. Sec. 8.05, Stats. However, a majority of the village board may, by ordinance, resolution or bylaw, adopted no later than December 1 preceding the election, determine that candidates for elected village offices to be filled at the next succeeding election shall be nominated by a nonpartisan primary. Secs. 8.05(4)(a) and 8.11(1)(a), Stats. When the nonpartisan primary is provided, nomination papers are used. A village adopting the nonpartisan primary to nominate candidates may hold a primary only when the number of candidates for an elective village office exceeds twice the number to be elected to the office. Sec. 8.05(5), Stats. If the nomination paper-primary system is used, no additional candidates may be nominated by caucus. Sec. 8.05(4)(d), Stats.
A village board may permanently adopt the nomination paper-primary system of nominating candidates for village offices by enacting a charter ordinance which provides that whenever three or more candidates file nomination papers for a village office, a primary to nominate candidates for the office shall be held. Secs. 8.05(4)(a) and 8.11(1)(b), Stats. Bear in mind that any charter ordinance changing the method of nomination of candidates to village offices should be enacted well in advance of the anticipated implementation of the procedure in order to ensure that it may be used at the next succeeding election. Charter ordinances do not take effect for 60 days after adoption by the governing body during which time citizens may petition for a referendum on the charter ordinance. See Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0101.
Cities. A majority of all the members of a common council may, by ordinance, resolution or bylaw adopted no later than 3 days after the deadline for filing nomination papers, determine to hold a primary for the nomination of candidates for any city office. Sec. 8.11(1)(a), Stats.
In addition, electors may petition a city to hold a primary. Whenever electors, equal to at least 10% of the vote for governor in the city at the last general election, file a petition with the city clerk requesting a primary within 3 days after the deadline for filing nomination papers, there shall be a primary for any specific election. Sec. 8.11(1)(c).
A primary may be held under either paragraph 8.11(1)(a) or (c) only if the number of candidates for any city office exceeds twice the number to be elected to the office. Sec. 8.11(1)(d).
A common council may avoid the need to annually determine to hold a primary by enacting a charter ordinance providing for a primary whenever 3 or more candidates file nomination papers for a city office. Sec. 8.11(1)(b), Stats.