Wisconsin Elections Commission Approves Biennial Mailing to Inactive Voters
MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Elections Commission has unanimously approved mailing postcards in mid-June to approximately 187,750 registered voters who have not voted in the past four years.
“This biennial postcard mailing approved by the Commission is just one of the many things Wisconsin election officials do to ensure our state’s voter registration list is current and accurate to ensure the integrity of voting,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief election official.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission will be sending the postcards to voters who have not voted since the November 2016 general election. Between that election and the 2020 general election, there have been 14 statewide elections and primaries and many special elections. The postcard asks recipients whether they want to remain a registered voter at that address.
More information about the 2021 Four-Year Voter List Maintenance mailing will be distributed in June before the postcards are mailed. Information about the mailing is posted to the Commission’s website: https://elections.wi.gov/node/7420.
Wolfe noted that the Four-Year Voter List Maintenance mailing is separate from other mailings the Commission has sent in recent years to voters who may have moved. So-called “movers mailings” have been the subject of litigation, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently decided the Zignego case in the Commission’s favor.
Wisconsin Voter Registration and List Maintenance Facts
- Wisconsin’s 2020 voting-age population was 4,536,293 people, according to the latest estimates by the state’s Demographic Services Center.
- Of those, 3,785,290 people were actively registered to vote on April 1, 2021. That’s 83 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 seventh 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, 380,000 in 2017 and 113,314 in 2019.
- In 2019, the registrations of 95,939 voters, or 84% 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. Local clerks also regularly monitor obituaries and other reliable sources of information about deaths to update the voter list.
- 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. The four-year maintenance mailing process is different than ERIC mailings to voters who may have moved.