Wisconsin election officials fear voter confusion over special and regular election taking place on same day


Wisconsin election officials are working on ways to clear up confusion about a ballot that will allow voters to vote for both a special election and a regular election

Following former Rep. Mike Gallagher’s sudden resignation from Congress last month, Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District has remained vacant. Under Wisconsin law, if Gallagher had resigned before April 9, a special election could have been held sooner, but he left office on April 24. The move required Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) to call a special election for the same day as the Aug. 13 primary, as well as the general election in November.

Voters in the 8th District, which encompasses northeastern Wisconsin, including Green Bay and Appleton, will pick someone to take his place until the term ends on Jan. 3, as well as additionally vote for someone to take on the two-year term in the House after Jan. 3. 

“There is a source for confusion present here, and it will be very difficult to avoid any voter confusion,” Wisconsin Elections Commission attorney Brandon Hunzicker said.

The nonpartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission has voted to include wording about the length of time served in both the special election and the two-year term. Voters will also be given an explanatory sheet about why the same congressional seat is on the ballot twice. 

“If we’re not clarifying that for the voter, we have done the voters a disservice,” WEC Commissioner Ann Jacobs said.


Both the special election and the election for the two-year termed position will take place on Nov. 5, the day of the general election. This will give Wisconsin’s 8th District a vote in the House for about two months. 

Former gas station owner Tony Wied, state Sen. André Jacque, and former state Sen. Roger Roth are running for the solidly Republican district. Kristin Lyerly is the only Democrat to have declared her candidacy. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Wied in the race. 

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