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Running for Local Office

Questions answered

We constantly hear how important local elections are and how important it is to vote. We’ve also learned that there isn’t a lot of information on how to actually run for local office. What elected positions are in Fond du Lac County? Where do you start? Who do you talk to?

Paperwork 101

All spring, nonpartisan elections need to have their nomination papers signed and turned in to the County Clerk (or City Clerk) by the first Tuesday in January by 5:00 p.m. You still have time!

How do you get on the ballot? Start here!

There are some minimum requirements:

  • United States Citizenship
  • At least 18 years of age (or older for certain offices)
  • Satisfy residency requirements for specific office
  • May not have been convicted of a felony in any court in the United States unless pardoned of the conviction.

Okay, I know I need to file paperwork. Start here!

I want to run for Fond du Lac City Council!

By the first Tuesday in January by 5:00 p.m., you need to file the following to run for Fond du Lac City Council:

  1. Registration statement
  2. Declaration of candidacy.
  3. Signed nomination papers.

I want to run for a municipal position!

By the first Tuesday in January, you need to directly contact the Townships, Villages, and School Boards for information on how to get on the ballot.  Why?  Each of them has different rules, some only require a registration statement to get on the ballot, and no nomination papers are required.

Some townships and villages in Fond du Lac County still operate using a caucus system*. This is a method where qualified electors of the municipality nominate and vote for candidates at a public meeting to be placed on the spring ballot. Those who use a caucus method have no spring primary.  A caucus is held between January 2 and January 21.

*Most of the townships in Fond du Lac utilize the caucus method.

I want to run for School Board!

*There is a caveat in the Fond du Lac School Board and North Fond du Lac School Board. Both require nomination papers, signatures, etc.

**Time-saving tip: you can email the school district Superintendent’s Executive Assistant for help on this process!

I want to run for Fond du Lac County Board!

Fond du Lac County Board elections are every two years on even years. Therefore all County Board of Supervisor seats are up for election.

What’s a primary election?

The Spring primary is February 20, 2024.  A primary is triggered when double plus one the number of candidates for an open seat get on the ballot.  For example, the City of Fond du Lac City Council has 4 open seats, a primary will be triggered if 7 candidates submit nomination papers.  If there is a primary, the candidate needs to get enough votes to be in the top to then be on the April ballot.

Necessary Forms

The following forms must be completed and filed by 5:00 pm the first Tuesday in January 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

This form should be filed with the City Clerk’s Office before announcing your candidacy for office, or no later than the deadline for filing nomination papers. New candidates should file a campaign registration statement PDF  as soon as the 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 the 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.

Nomination Papers

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, 2023, and 5:00 pm on January 2, 2024. 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 MyVote. 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 MyVote. 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)

County Supervisor

(only even-year spring ballot

50 100
Village/Town 20 100
City of Fond du Lac 100 200
School Board* Contact directly

*Fond du Lac School Board

*North Fond du Lac School Board