MADISON, Wis. (RELEASE FROM WI ELECTIONS COMMITTEE)-- The State of Wisconsin is mailing postcards this week to approximately 114,000 registered voters who have not voted in the past four years.
“The postcards are titled Official Voter Registration Notice,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “State law requires inactive voters to be removed from the statewide voter list if they do not request continuing their registration, which is just one of many steps we take to ensure the integrity of voting in Wisconsin.”
The Wisconsin Elections Commission is sending the postcards to voters who have not voted since the November 2014 general election. Between that election and the 2018 general election, there have been 11 statewide elections and primaries. The postcard asks recipients whether they want to remain a registered voter at that address.
To stay registered, voters who still live at the address on the postcard must sign the part of the postcard that says, “Keep Me Registered to Vote” and return it to their municipal clerk by mail or in-person by July 31. Voters who do not respond will be marked as inactive on the state’s registered voter list, meaning they will need to register again before voting. The registration of a voter will also be inactivated if the Post Office is unable to deliver their postcard.
If you receive a postcard and your name or address has changed, please do not return the postcard. Instead, please re-register under your new name. Voters can register online up to 20 days before an election at the MyVote Wisconsin website (www.myvote.wi.gov) if they have an up-to-date Wisconsin driver license or state ID card. They may also register by mail up to 20 days before an election, after which they may register at the clerk’s office until the Friday before the election, or at the polling place on Election Day.
If you receive an Official Voter Registration Notice postcard but believe you voted in Wisconsin in the past four years, please contact your local municipal clerk, who is responsible for recording who voted in an election. Your clerk’s name and contact information are on the postcard.
“This mailing helps municipal clerks to identify individuals who have not voted,” said Wolfe, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. “It is not designed to remove active voters from the list of registered voters. Often the individuals have moved and have not voted since they moved or updated their registration.”
Wolfe said the WEC has learned that a third-party voter registration group, the Center for Voter Information, is also sending mailings to Wisconsin residents this month. These mailings have a larger format and include a voter registration form.
“Our postcard will have an ‘Official Election Mail’ logo near the postage mark,” Wolfe said. “If third-party mailings raise questions about whether you are registered or need to reregister, you can contact your municipal clerk’s office or check your registration status at our MyVote Wisconsin website.”
In addition to sending out postcards every two years, the WEC is continually helping Wisconsin’s 1,850 municipal clerks keep the voter list current. “Working together with Wisconsin’s clerks, the Commission is making the voter list more accurate,” Wolfe said. “This has many benefits to Wisconsin voters and taxpayers, both in the election process and in the costs of conducting elections.”
Wisconsin Voter Registration and List Maintenance Facts
Wisconsin’s 2018 voting-age population was 4,498,576 people, according to the latest estimates by the state’s Demographic Services Center.
Of those, 3,416,739 people were actively registered to vote on June 1, 2019. That’s 76 percent of the voting-age population.
State law requires the Elections Commission to conduct voter list maintenance every two years after each General Election. The purpose is to identify registered voters who have not voted in the past four years, attempt to contact them, and remove those who have moved or who no longer wish to remain registered.
This is the sixth time Wisconsin has conducted voter list maintenance since creating its statewide registration system in 2006.
The number of postcards mailed every two years varies greatly, depending on whether it follows an election for president or for governor. In 2013, the state mailed nearly 300,000 postcards to voters, compared to nearly 100,000 postcards in 2015 and 380,000 in 2017.
In 2017, the registrations of 351,733 voters, or 92% of people who were mailed postcards, were made inactive because the postcards were undeliverable, the voters who received them did not respond, or the voters who received the postcards asked to be removed from the active list. According to national statistics, 12% of the population moves every year.
The Elections Commission works closely with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to identify and regularly remove voters who have died or been convicted of a felony.
Wisconsin is a member of the multi-state Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which provides the state with additional tools to identify voters who may be eligible to vote but unregistered, or who have moved or died out of state.
More information about the four-year voter record maintenance process is posted to the Commission’s website: https://elections.wi.gov.