WEC Mails Postcards to Inactive Voters

Riley Vetterkind, @email 

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) is mailing postcards this week to approximately 116,051 registered voters who have not voted in the past four years.

The postcards are titled “Official Voter Registration Notice.” State law requires the WEC to mail notices to registered voters who have not voted in four years. Wis. Stat. § 6.50(1). These voters have 30 days to respond and tell their clerk whether they want to remain an active registered voter. Wis. Stat. § 6.50(2). If their clerk does not hear from them or if their mailing is undeliverable, their voter registration will be deactivated and they will need to reregister. Wis. Stat. § 6.50(2). 

This mailing happens every two years following a November election. This week’s postcards are being sent to voters who have not voted since the November 2018 General Election. 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, “I hereby certify that I still reside at the address listed below, have not had a change of name, and want to stay registered to vote in Wisconsin” and return it to their municipal clerk. It must arrive by July 15. Voters who do not respond will have their status changed to inactive on July 31. 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 or address. Voters can register online up to 20 days before an election at the MyVote Wisconsin website (www.myvote.wi.gov) if they have a current Wisconsin driver license or state ID card. The address printed on your DL or ID does not need to be current, but your current address must be on file with the DMV. Voters 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 is different than mailings from independent voter registration groups. The WEC’s postcard will have an ‘Official Election Mail’ logo near the postage mark. If independent 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 roughly 1,850 municipal clerks keep the voter list current. Working together with Wisconsin’s clerks, the Commission is making the statewide voter database more accurate. 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 2022 estimated voting-age population was 4,676,183 people, according to the latest numbers from the state’s Demographic Services Center.
•    Of those, 3,598,723 people were actively registered to vote on June 1, 2023. That’s 77% 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 deactivate those who have moved or who no longer wish to remain registered.
•    This is the eighth 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 2019 there were about 114,000, and in 2021 there were approximately 186,900.
•    In 2021, the registrations of 174,307 voters, or 93% 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. 
•    The Elections Commission works closely with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to identify and regularly deactivate voters who have died or been convicted of a felony.

More information about the four-year voter record maintenance process is posted to the Commission’s website: https://elections.wi.gov/statistics-data/voter-list-maintenance.  

An image of a sample Election Mail postcard is attached. Your publication of the sample postcard as companion art to a story will help assure voters it is not a scam.