The State Legislature passed 2013 Wisconsin Act 148 (2013 Senate Bill 377) during the last legislative session. This law requires that each municipal clerk must report within 90 days of a federal or state election:
- The number of address verification postcards sent to Election Day Registrants (EDR);
- The number of those postcards returned as undeliverable because the voter did not reside at that address;
- The number of such voters inactivated as a result of the address verification postcard process; and
- The number of electors referred to the District Attorney.
While these provisions of Act 148 become effective in 2016, a nonstatutory provision of the Act requires that the G.A.B. request the same data from clerks following the 2014 General Election. G.A.B. staff has developed an EDR Postcard Statistics Report with five short questions that satisfies the requirements of the law and provides an explanation of the status of each voter involved. Each municipal clerk must track the status of EDR address verification postcards from the 2014 General Election. The municipal clerk, or their provider, must then submit one report for each municipality through the Wisconsin Election Data Collection System (WEDCS). Completing the report in WEDCS satisfies the requirement to report the information to the G.A.B. and the county clerk because the municipal clerk, county clerk, and the G.A.B. can access and review the information.
For the 2014 General Election, the law requires that clerks report this information within 90 days of Election Day – no later than February 2, 2015. The Statutes require that municipal clerks continue to process these postcards beyond 90 days from Election Day, as well as update the report for their municipality on a monthly basis until you have resolved the status of all EDR verification postcards. Wis. Stat. §6.275(1)(f).
Beginning with federal and state elections in 2016, the law requires clerks to report the same information no later than 90 days after the election date, and then to subsequently update the statistics on a monthly basis as necessary. The G.A.B. will rely heavily on clerk input in developing a more robust way to process these postcards moving forward. There will be no reporting requirements for EDR postcards for the 2015 Spring Election Cycle.
Wis. Stat. 7.15 (1)(g) requires municipal clerk to notify the G.A.B. of any potential election related violations of suspected election fraud, irregularities or violation. If you have made any District Attorney referrals following the November 2014 election, and have not already notified the G.A.B., please email the HelpDesk at GABHelpDesk@wi.gov.
Within 90 days after the 2014 General Election (no later than February 2, 2015), you or your provider clerk should:
- Login to WEDCS
- Select “2014 General Election EDR Postcards Report” from the left-hand menu
- Click on the name of your municipality
- Enter your statistics
- Click on the “Save and Submit” button at the bottom of the screen
- Return to update your report as necessary.
As you are aware, postcards may be returned as undeliverable for a variety of reasons other than an elector registering with an improper address, such as typographical errors in the mailing address, postal service errors or non-delivery to the address, or the elector moving from the address after the election. Wis. Stat. §6.56(3) requires that, in cases where the municipal clerk cannot resolve a question regarding the validity of an elector’s address on an undelivered postcard, the clerk shall change the voter’s registration status to inactive, notify the elector of the change by mail, and refer the matter to the district attorney.
Prior to referring any case to the district attorney, municipal clerks should take reasonable steps to determine whether the elector still resides at, or claims that their voting address is the one listed on the verification postcard. Clerks should not refer cases to the district attorney if their investigation determines that the elector resided at the address on Election Day.
For additional information and instruction on reporting the EDR Postcard Statistics, please see the EDR Verification Postcards section of the December 3, 2014 webinar, SVRS 2014 Post Election Tasks, and the supporting materials on the G.A.B. website.
Attached is a table outlining the questions included on the EDR Postcard Statistics Report. If you are a relier municipality, we suggest talking with your provider clerk about how to manage tracking these postcards and reporting the statistics required by law to develop a system that will work well for you. If you are a relier municipality, you should talk with your provider about how you will submit your report in WEDCS. Your provider may complete the report for your, or if you have access to WEDCS, you may enter the report yourself. Relier clerks who would like access to WEDCS should contact the G.A.B. Help Desk using the contact information provided below.
If you have any questions, please contact the G.A.B. Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608)2612028.