Election News: State of Wisconsin Mails Letters to Voters Who May Have Moved
MADISON, WI – The State of Wisconsin is mailing letters this week to approximately 234,000 registered voters who may have moved in-state or out of Wisconsin.
“We want voters to be prepared for 2020,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief elections official. “This mailing is designed to help people who may have moved within Wisconsin make sure they’re ready to vote next year. It will not keep anyone eligible from voting.”
“If you move, even to an apartment in the same building, you must update your voter record by reregistering,” Wolfe said.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission is sending the letters to voters who have told another government agency that they have moved recently. These voters may have changed their address with the post office, updated their address with the Wisconsin DMV or applied for a driver license in another state.
The 2019 movers mailing will be different than previous mailings, Wolfe said. “We learned some important lessons from our first movers mailing in 2017, and our goal is to make this new mailing simple for voters to use.”
Wolfe said WEC staff tested the mailing with clerks and voters to arrive at the best design. “We have streamlined the way we identify voters who may have moved, made our mailing more user-friendly, and given voters a self-serve option to certify or update their address in advance of Election Day,” she said.
Another important change from 2017 is that voters who get the mailing will not be automatically removed from the active voter list if they do not respond to the mailing within a month. Voters who are sent the 2019 movers mailing will remain on the active poll list until after the April 2021 Spring Election. Those who have not voted or reregistered by then will be deactivated.
Wolfe noted that some voters who recently reregistered online may receive the letter because the mailing list is based on data from July 2019. “Voters who reregistered in the last few months can disregard this mailing,” she said. “Voters with questions about their status can check it online at MyVote.WI.gov or give us a call at 1-866-VOTE-WIS.
The WEC compiled the mailing list with help from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a multi-state group that helps its members keep their voter registration lists current by identifying voters who may have changed their address, moved out of state or died. One of the requirements of membership in ERIC is to send mailings to voters who may have moved.
The movers mailing is one of many ways the Elections Commission helps Wisconsin’s 1,850 municipal clerks keep the voter list current. “Working together with Wisconsin’s clerks, the Commission is improving data quality to make 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.”
Voter Registration and List Maintenance Facts
- Wisconsin has a voting-age population of 4,522,297 people, according to estimates by the state’s Demographic Services Center.
- Of those, 3,329,127 people were actively registered to vote on October 1, 2019.
- Wisconsin has had a statewide voter registration list since 2006. State law sets out procedures for election officials to remove ineligible people from the list, including those who have died, moved, been convicted of a felony or found incompetent to vote.
- In 2016, Wisconsin joined the multi-state Electronic Registration Information Center, which provides members with additional tools to keep their voter lists current by identifying eligible residents who are not registered, as well as voters who may have moved or died out of state.
- This is Wisconsin’s second mailing to contact voters who may have moved. The first mailing in 2017 went to approximately 343,000 voters.
- In September of 2016, Wisconsin mailed postcards to 1.28 million people identified by ERIC as being eligible to vote but unregistered, encouraging them to register to vote. In June of 2018, similar postcards were mailed to approximately 384,000 eligible but unregistered voters.
- A spreadsheet containing the number of letters sent to voters in each Wisconsin municipality is available with this news release on the WEC website.
More information about the ERIC list maintenance process is posted to the Commission’s website: https://elections.wi.gov.