By Senator Howard Marklein
August 11, 2017
Housekeeping For Voter Registration
The Wisconsin Elections Commission recently provided a report to the legislature to summarize their four-year voter registration record maintenance results. More than 350,000 voters’ status changed from eligible to ineligible during this round of maintenance. Approximately 9% of the registered voters in Wisconsin changed their status from eligible to ineligible.
Every four years, the Elections Commission is required, by law, to do housekeeping on statewide voter registration records. Every June, following a general Presidential election year, the Commission mails a notice to all voters who were registered to vote for the past four years – but have not voted during that time period.
The notice asks these voters to confirm whether they would like to continue their registration. If the notices are undeliverable or if the voters do not respond within 30 days, the Commission deactivates the registration in the statewide voter registration system. Their names will not appear on the poll list on the next Election Day and they will be required to re-register.
The Commission reported that they mailed 381,495 notices this year. Of these notices, only 28,169 voters requested continuation and 250 people asked to cancel their registration. There were also 532 duplicate voters who were identified and merged.
The 9% whose status changed included 153,416 undeliverable notices and 189,702 voters who did not respond. An interesting statistic is that 7,692 voters were deactivated at the request of county or municipal clerks for reasons other than being deceased or at the voter’s request. In fact, only 799 deceased voters were deactivated at the request of a clerk, however many other deceased voters are likely included in the undeliverable or non-responsive voters removed from the list.
This housekeeping is an important effort to protect the integrity of our elections. It is also important for voters to actively participate and insure that their information is up-to-date. As of August 1, 2017, there are 3,351,591 registered voters in Wisconsin. Nearly 58% of our state is registered to vote. Protecting the quality of our voter database is an essential function of the Commission.
For the full report and statistics from the Four-Year Maintenance effort, please visit http://elections.wi.gov/publications/reports/2017-four-year-maintenance.
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.