Running for Local Office
All City of Madison Aldermanic Seats and City of Madison Municipal Judge will be up for election in 2021. Seats 1 and 2 of the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education will also be on the ballot in 2021.
Seats 3, 4, and 5 of the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education will be on the ballot in 2022. In 2023, all City of Madison Aldermanic Seats, City of Madison Mayor, and Seats 6 and 7 of the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education will be on the ballot.
As a candidate for office, you may find the following information helpful as you prepare for the 2021 Spring Election.
As a candidate, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the election and campaign finance requirements that apply to your campaign, which you may obtain from either the Wisconsin Statutes or from your private attorney. In addition, you may obtain general information about elections from the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Information you receive from the City Clerk’s Office may not be interpreted as legal advice or a release from your responsibility to comply with the law.
December 1, 2020
First day nomination papers may be circulated.
December 25, 2020
Deadline for incumbents not seeking re-election to file Notice of Non-Candidacy.
|December 30, 2020||Clerk's Office open until 6 p.m.|
|January 2, 2021||Clerk's Office personnel will be at 2713 E. Washington Ave. from 9 to noon for candidates wishing to file papers/forms on the weekend.|
|January 3, 2021||Clerk's Office personnel will be at 2713 E. Washington Ave. from 1 to 3 p.m. for candidates wishing to file papers/forms on the weekend.|
|January 4, 2021||Clerk's Office open until 6 p.m.|
January 5, 2021
All papers and forms due in City Clerk’s Office at 5 p.m.
January 8, 2021
Deadline to challenge nomination papers.
|January 26, 2021||
Absentee ballots mailed to all voters with requests on file.
|January 27, 2021||
Last day to register to vote by mail.
|February 16, 2021||
Spring Primary, if needed.
|March 16, 2021||
Absentee ballots mailed to all voters with requests on file.
|March 17, 2021||
Last day to register to vote through the mail.
|April 6, 2021||
The following forms must be completed and filed by 5:00 pm on January 5 in order for the candidate’s name to be placed on the ballot for the Spring Primary and/or the Spring General Election:
- Campaign Registration Statement
- Declaration of Candidacy
- Nomination Papers
- Statement of Interests (required only for City of Madison offices, not for Madison Metropolitan School District offices)
Campaign Registration Statement
This form should be filed with the City Clerk’s Office prior to announcing your candidacy for office, or no later than the deadline for filing nomination papers. New candidates should file a campaign registration statement as soon as intent to seek elective office is known and before funds are collected or spent – see State Statute 11.05(2g) and 11.10(1). Continuing candidates must file an amended campaign registration statement indicating the office sought and the new primary and election dates. The campaign registration statement must be signed by both the candidate and the campaign treasurer, if a treasurer has been appointed.
Declaration of Candidacy
The declaration of candidacy must include the candidate’s name in the form it is to appear on the official ballot. A candidate may use their full legal name or any combination of first name, middle name, initials, or nickname with last name. No abbreviations or titles are permitted.
Nicknames with an apparent electoral purpose or benefit, such as "Lower Taxes," "None of the Above" or "Lower Spending" are not permitted. A nickname is a substitute for the candidate’s legal name. It is not permissible to add the nickname in quotes or parentheses between the first and last name. For example, John “Jack” Jones is not acceptable, but Jack Jones is acceptable.
The first day for circulating nomination papers is December 1, and the deadline for filing nomination papers is 5:00 pm on the first Tuesday in January. This deadline is extended to the first Wednesday in January if the first Tuesday of January is a holiday (§8.10).
Signatures of qualified electors on nomination papers must be obtained between December 1, 2020, and 5:00 pm on January 5, 2021. Please pay careful attention to the signatures you obtain on your nomination papers. All electors signing your nomination papers must live within the district in which you are running (you can check the district for an address at the City Assessor's website, or Access Dane). Those signing do not need to be registered voters, but must be eligible to vote. It is to your advantage to check that the addresses on your nomination papers are from the district you are running to represent. Signatures for addresses outside of that district are invalid and will not be counted.
Signers must give their complete address (house number, street and municipality – no Post Office boxes), and must list the municipality of residence. Signers must date their signature, including the year. In order for a signature to be valid, state law requires the signer to legibly print their name in a space provided next to their signature.
Although the person signing the nomination papers must reside within the district, the person circulating the nomination papers does not need to live in the district or municipality. Circulators are only required to be U.S. citizens, age 18 or older on the date of circulation, and not otherwise disqualified as an elector by the provisions in State Statute 6.03.
The circulator must certify the nomination papers after obtaining the signatures. Signatures dated after the date listed by the circulator are invalid and will not be counted. Nomination papers must be numbered. You may determine whether an address is in your district by checking online at the City Assessor's website, or Access Dane. Signatures for addresses outside of that district are invalid and will not be counted.
Nomination Paper Signatures Required
|Office||Minimum Valid Signatures Required||Maximum Valid Signatures (to be safe)||Wisconsin State Statute|
|City of Madison Alderperson||20||40||§8.10(3)(j)|
|City of Madison Municipal Judge||200||400||§8.10(3)(b)|
|City of Madison Mayor||200||400||§8.10(3)(j)|
|MMSD Board of Education||100||200||§8.10(3)(km)|
Clerk's Office Procedures
When you file nomination papers with the Clerk's Office, you will be given a receipt. Your nomination papers will then be checked for validity by someone who is not working at the counter or answering the phone. The Clerk's Office will check nomination papers in the order they are submitted to the office. A benefit of submitting your nomination papers prior to January 5, 2021, is that the Clerk's Office should be able to verify the validity of your nomination papers prior to the filing deadline. The Clerk's Office will contact you to let you know whether your nomination papers were sufficient.
After the January 5 deadline, candidates’ names will be drawn by lot for the order of placement on the ballot.
If a potential candidate does not submit all necessary forms and an adequate number of valid nomination signatures by 5:00 pm on January 5, 2021, their name will not be placed on the ballot.
Notification of Non-Candidacy
The notification of non-candidacy form is to notify the City Clerk’s Office and the electorate of an incumbent officeholder’s intent to not seek re-election to the same office. Incumbent office holders who do not intend to seek re-election to the same office should file the notification of non-candidacy no later than 5:00 pm on December 25, 2020. If an incumbent not seeking re-election files the notification timely, the nomination paper deadline is unchanged. If the incumbent has a change of mind after filing the notification of non-candidacy, they can run for re-election by filing the appropriate ballot access papers by January 5, 2021.
To seek office as a write-in candidate:
- Download your campaign registration statement from the Wisconsin Elections Commission website at any time.
- File your campaign registration statement with the City Clerk’s Office as soon as you decide to become a write-in candidate. Write-in votes are counted at the Spring Primary for candidates who file a campaign registration statement by noon on Friday, February 12. Write-in votes are counted at the Spring Election for candidates who file a campaign registration statement by noon on Friday, April 2.
- Educate supporters to write your name on the write-in portion of the ballot, under the proper position.
File your forms with:
City Clerk’s Office
210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Room 103