Key Dates at a Glance:
- 12/1/23 – First day to circulate nomination papers (check with your local respective Clerk for requirements pertaining to your race and locality)
- 1/2/24 – Deadline for candidates to file nomination papers (if required), declarations of candidacy, and campaign registration statements with the City Clerk.
- 1/5/24 – Deadline for all judicial candidates to file Statement of Economic Interests with Wisconsin Ethics Commission.
- 1/5/24 – Deadline for City Clerk to accept challenges to nomination papers.
- 1/30/24 – Deadline for mailing absentee ballots to voters with request on file for Spring Primary.
- 2/15/24 – Deadline to request absentee ballots for Spring Primary.
- 2/6-2/18/24 – Early Voting Period for Spring Primary.*
- 2/20/24 – Spring Primary
- 3/12/24 – Deadline for mailing absentee ballots to voters with request on file for Spring Election.
- 3/19-3/31/24 – Early Voting Period for Presidential Preference Primary and Spring General*
- 3/28/24 – Online/absentee mail voter registration deadline for Presidential Preference Primary and Spring General
- 4/2/24 – Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary
*Time varies by municipality. Please check with your local, respective Clerk.
Source: Wisconsin Elections Commission Calendar of 2024 Election Events
For campaign finance filing deadlines, please visit the Wisconsin Ethics Commission Campaign Finance Filing Calendar.
Campaign Election To-Do Timeline
Now – Campaign Launch
- Before launching your campaign:
- Gather support from family and friends
- Make a list of your top 50 friends and family. Write their phone numbers next to their names. These will be your volunteers and first donors if you choose to raise campaign money. Call each and ask for their support.
- Gather a few trusted friends to volunteer on your campaign. You DO NOT need paid staff.
- You will need 2-3 key people. One person should keep you accountable on filing paperwork (nomination paper, campaign finance and bank paperwork if you choose to raise money). One person should keep you accountable on your relationships with voters: knocking on doors, posts on social media, and meet and greet opportunities.
- Analyze your district (last couple of election cycles)
- What issues motivated voters?
- Is this a district friendly to conservatives or do you have an uphill battle? What’s the strategy? (P.S. The strategy is always to meet more voters!)
2. Vet your opposition and yourself (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
3. Consider your online presence
- What have you said publicly?
- Google yourself; what comes up?
Dec 1 – Jan 3
Please click on the links below. Local offices are each different. Research your own office to determine the exact order in which to proceed. Below is a guide. Always save the emails from clerks or approving entities to prove your paperwork or answers to your questions came from an authority.
- Formally launch your campaign by filing the correct forms (see which forms here)
- Determine whether you also want to fundraise. (Many local offices have a threshold below which you do not need to have onerous reporting.) Research what that number is, and determine with your close advisors whether you want to spend more than that. If you do, consider:
- Starting a bank account for your campaign committee
- Reporting requirements for fundraising (dates and donor info)
- How much each campaign contribution may be (elected offices in Wisconsin have different maximum contribution limits)
- Nomination Signatures (here for more information)
- Nomination signatures get you on the ballot. Signing nomination papers does not commit a voter to voting for you…it just means they are ok with your name being on the ballot. Get your nomination papers approved before you start circulating them. Just fill out the paper the way you intend to circulate it, then email that back to the approving entity and ask if the paper is approved to circulate. When they say it is, SAVE that email, and you can begin gathering signatures! Gather more than you are required to.
- Start 12/1/2023
- Due 1/2/2024 (5:00 PM)
- Create your “Elevator Pitch”
- “Why are you running?” is a question everyone will ask.
- This will also go on your literature and your online presence.
- Get a headshot
- You will use this in your online presence and literature.
- You can just have a friend take this with a high-resolution camera phone, or use your phone timer and a tripod yourself.
- Create your logo
- Use it consistently on all postcards, yard signs, social media, etc.
- Get ideas online and run them by friends and family
- All print material must include “Paid for by…” (Info)
- This does NOT need to take a lot of time. You can do this simply on any office software or free in Canva.
- Create an Online Presence
- Keep it simple; you DO NOT need a website unless you want one. A Facebook page will suffice.
- Instagram is growing in popularity. Twitter is largely unhelpful in local races.
- You can reuse the same content across social media.
- If you choose to create a website, (WIX and Google Sites are free), you will likely need to pay for the domain and hosting. GoDaddy.com will allow you to buy your domain name.
- The Bio page is the most frequented webpage for candidates.
- Create your Facebook Page/other socials (do NOT use your personal page)
- Use this as a hub for volunteers to knock on doors, volunteers to display a yard sign, and volunteers to host a “meet and greet” event in their homes.
- Respond quickly to DMs from people who volunteer!
- Get authorized with Facebook to place political ads.
- Remember to include the “Paid for by” disclaimer
- Call through your list of friends and family and ask everyone to help.
- You can even send a letter. (Remember the disclaimer: Paid for by…)
- Order Literature, Yard Signs, Postcards, create Facebook ads
- Yard Signs will go up around first week of March
- Gather your friends for a fun day of yard sign placement and literature distribution!
- The “Paid for by” disclaimer must appear on every campaign-related item, including social media ads
Mid-January to March 1
- These elections are won at the doors
- The candidate must prioritize knocking on doors above all else!
- Friends can knock on doors with you for support
- Call or email the 1848 Project to get set up with a mentor who can give you advice and encouragement!
- Distribute your campaign Lit pieces
- Hand deliver at doors
- If hand delivering, remember mailboxes are off-limits (front door, paper box are fine)
- You can also pay to have literature mailed
- Prepare your Get Out the Vote strategy to knock all doors in your district
- If you have a primary, focus now on primary voters (Republican primary voters)
- Check when Absentee Ballots will be mailed and work that into your timeline
- Schedule your last Meet & Greets
- Gather your supporters for an Election Night “Watch Party”
- Follow up with your supporters to tell them “Thank You” for their support during the campaign