Organization of the Agency
The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) is responsible for administering Wisconsin’s election laws. The bipartisan Commission has six appointed members: four by Legislative leaders and two by the Governor. The nonpartisan WEC staff is organized under the Administrator, who holds “state public office” as defined in state statutes.
The Commission has designated the Administrator as the Custodian of Public Records for WEC. Members of the public may obtain access to WEC’s Public Records, or obtain copies of these records, by making a request of any WEC staff member, who will direct those requests to the Administrator or the Public Information Officer.
Record Access Rights
All records retained by the WEC are available for inspection and copying, except as otherwise provided by law. The right to request public records is delineated in Wisconsin law under Wis. Stat. 19.31-19.39. For more information, see the Wisconsin Department of Justice publication, “Wisconsin Public Records Law Compliance Guide (2015).”
Public records requests can be made in person at the WEC office, 212 East Washington Avenue, Third Floor, Madison, or by telephone to 608-266-8005 during normal office hours: 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except legal holidays. Requests can also be made in writing by postal mail to Public Records Requests, Wisconsin Elections Commission, P.O. Box 7984, Madison, WI 53707-7984; or by email to [email protected].
The law permits WEC to impose fees for certain “actual, necessary and direct” costs associated with responding to public records requests. If no other copy fee is set by law, WEC may bill requestors $0.15 for each photocopied page provided and $0.07/page for content scanned and converted into electronic format. Reproduction costs will not be charged on a per-page basis if the WEC provides electronic copies of records that already existed in electronic format. WEC may charge for staff time and other actual costs to copy records from one electronic format to another electronic format and/or physical media. WEC may charge the actual cost for the physical media such as CD, DVD or thumb drive used to provide electronic records to requesters. The actual cost of postage, courier, or delivery services may be charged. The cost of locating responsive records may be charged if it is $50.00 or more and will be calculated as hourly pay rate (including fringe benefits) of the lowest-paid employee capable of performing the task multiplied by actual time expended to locate records. The lowest hourly rate is $21.11, and will not exceed $30.00 per hour. Requests which exceed a total cost of $5.00 may require prepayment. Requesters appearing in person may be asked to make their own copies, or WEC may make copies for requesters at its discretion. The WEC will not charge for the cost of reviewing records for possible redaction or removal of confidential information. All requests will be processed as soon as practicable and without delay.
Voter registration records are subject to a separate fee schedule established by statute and administrative rule. Wis. Stat. § 6.36(6), EL § 3.50, Wis. Adm. Code. The price is $25 plus $5 per 1,000 voter records, rounded to the nearest 1,000. The minimum charge is $30 and the maximum cost is $12,500 (2.5 million or more voter records). There is no charge for statistical information about voting (e.g., the number of registered voters in a municipality or the number of absentee ballots cast in a particular county during a particular election), unless the request would require creating a custom report. For information about ordering voter data and custom reports, visit https://badgervoters.wi.gov.
Questions about requests for public records should be directed to the WEC Public Information Officer at 608-267-7887 or [email protected].
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