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Wisconsin Elections Have No ‘Integrity Problem’

March 7, 2007

News Release Falsely Claims Voter Registration System is Down

MADISON, WI – The Republican Party of Wisconsin’s claim that the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) is broken is false, an Elections Board official said today.

“We can provide public officials and elected representatives with the facts,” said Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the State Elections Board. “Claims such as these undermine the public’s trust in Wisconsin’s election system.”

The Republican news release called the SVRS a “voting system,” and said the State has already spent its budgeted $27 million on the project. Neither is true.

“We followed the rules and have a fixed price contract with the software developer,” Kennedy said. “The SVRS is a voter registration and election administration database that has no link to voting equipment or the counting of votes.”

Kennedy said the party’s claims of systemic voter fraud are unsubstantiated.

“It is irresponsible to claim that voter fraud has resulted from use of the SVRS,” Kennedy added. “Quite the contrary, the SVRS provides a tool to identify possible instances of voter fraud, as has been proven recently in Wauwatosa and West Allis.”

He added that the work on the database must continue, as promised by the Board.

“This is a system that has been used to administer the last three statewide elections,” Kennedy said. “It is disingenuous to cry ‘Abandon ship!’ on a system that is required by the federal government. Any change would require careful evaluation of alternatives.”

Kennedy pointed out that officials from all statewide political parties in Wisconsin were briefed about the SVRS last year. And, as was intended, candidates and parties have been purchasing voter data from the system. The Republican Party of Wisconsin recently inquired about purchasing SVRS data.

Municipalities in Wisconsin are responsible for purchase and maintenance of voting equipment, which tabulates votes on Election Day. The SVRS, which keeps track of voters and other election data for county and municipal clerks, is not linked to voting equipment.

“We are working deliberately and transparently, in front of the public, to implement this project,” Kennedy said. “We have provided regular written briefings to the Legislature and the State Elections Board detailing the status of the project.”

“It would be irresponsible to act on snap judgments that could jeopardize the hard work put in by state and local election officials,” Kennedy said. “Any proposed change of course would require a careful weighing of options to ensure elections can be administered fairly, openly and in conformance with state and federal law.”