February 8, 2016

Purging inactive voter data

Postcard from GAB

Sample postcard from GAB

Registered voters who haven’t pulled the lever in the past four years might be finding a postcard in their mailbox from the state elections agency. Approximately 300,000 Wisconsin voters will be receiving the notices as the Government Accountability Board conducts voter record maintenance.

“This is a regular part of what we call maintenance of the voter registration list. Every two years we look back to see who hasn’t voted in the past four  years.”

Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the GAB, assures residents that the postcard titled “Notice of Suspension” is not a scam or a scheme to steal one’s identity. Municipal clerks are required by state law to clean up voter lists after each general election to maintain accurate and current voter data.

What should recipients do upon receiving this postcard? “It’s very simple. If you receive the card and you want to continue to register to vote, it includes a postcard addressed to the municipal clerk, you can just send that back to them saying please keep me on the list. If you take no action, you will not be able to vote unless you fill out a new registration form before the next election.”

Voters whose postcard is returned as undeliverable by the Post Office will also be deemed inactive. Voters who have changed their names or addresses should not return the card, but instead re-register under their new name or at their new address.

The cost to taxpayers to have the GAB print and mail the postcards this year is just over $90,000, or 30 cents a postcard. Kennedy says that’s a savings of more than $100,000 than if each municipality were to take on the task.

Voters can start the registration process online at MyVote Wisconsin, as well as check their registration status and voting history. The postcards were sent late Monday.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:48

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