Statement on Data Availability and Data Quality

 

Data Availability

Wisconsin municipalities are required to update voter participation and elections data in the Statewide voter database (WisVote) within 45 days of a general election, and 30 days of all other elections. The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) provides a list of incomplete municipalities in the “Munis with Incomplete Reports” tab of the posted Election Voting and Registrations Statistics Report that can be found on the WEC website here: https://elections.wi.gov/publications/statistics/el-190. Statewide voter participation and elections data is available from September 2006 to present. Information from February 2006, and April 2006, reflect only the jurisdictions in 21 counties that were using the Statewide voter database WisVote during those elections.

The price for data from WisVote is $25 plus $5 per 1000 voter registration data records ($5 for up to the first thousand, and then rounded to the nearest thousand thereafter). The price for printed data from WisVote is an additional $0.25 per page, plus the cost of postage and shipping. The system is constantly updated, so it is necessary to query the system before a price for a file can be provided. The maximum charge for voter registration data is $12,500. See Wis. Stat. § 6.36(6) and Section EL 3.50, Wis. Adm. Code, for additional information about charges for voter registration data.

Quotes are valid for 15 days from the time they are produced. The Wisconsin Elections Commission reserves the right to re-estimate the quote after the 15-day period due to the fluidity of the data. The Wisconsin Elections Commission strives to provide quotes within 1-2 business days of receiving the request. The Wisconsin Elections Commission also works to provide the requested data within 5-7 business days of receiving payment.

There is no charge for quantity-only data (data without individual identifiers, 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. There is also no charge for data from the Election Voting and Registration Statistics Report (formerly EL-190F) regarding election voting and registration statistics, and election cost tracking. This information is available on The Wisconsin Elections Commission website at https://elections.wi.gov/elections-voting/statistics. Data from the Election Voting and Registration Statistics Report (formerly EL-190F) is available for all Statewide elections beginning with the 2008 General Election. For data not yet posted on the website listed above, please contact The Wisconsin Elections Commission Data Request Team by email at @email, or by phone at (608) 261-2028.

Some information about voters is considered confidential, and can only be shared for law enforcement purposes, or official purposes of other government entities. As outlined in Wis. Stat. §6.36(1)(b), certain information cannot be released to the public, which includes:

• Date of birth

• Driver license or DOT-issued identification number

• Social Security Account Number

• The name or address of a confidential voter (see Wis. Stat. §6.47(3))

• An indication of a required accommodation to vote

Data Quality

In Wisconsin, elections are conducted at neither the state nor county level. Arguably, Wisconsin has the most decentralized elections administration systems in the nation. There are 1,850 municipalities and 72 counties in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Elections Commission is charged by State law to maintain the official voter records and statistics, in Wis. Stat. § 6.36(1). Responsibility for entering accurate information into WisVote and the Election Voting and Registration Statistics Report (formerly EL-190F), however, resides with the individual municipal clerk or election commission, per Wis. Stats. §§ 6.275, 6.276, and 6.33(5).

Election cost data are provided by each municipality and county for each Statewide election. WEC staff asks that clerks provide the data based on actual paid invoices or the clerk’s best available information (i.e. unpaid invoices, accepted bids, etc.) within the required reporting period. As clerks receive updates, they may revise their reports. The cost reporting is part of collecting elections statistics and is intended to provide a greater understanding about the costs of conducting elections. Collecting this data allows the WEC to provide detailed reports to the State Legislature, the media, voters, and the general public about elections throughout the State of Wisconsin and will assist municipalities to prepare and budget for elections.

These figures should not be construed as a complete accounting of audited election-related expenses. The Wisconsin Elections Commission has published instructions on completing the election cost report, but clerks may interpret these instructions and report expenditures differently. In addition, cost data may be incomplete and reflect the information available when the data was reported. While initial reports are due 30 days after an election, municipal and county clerks have the ability to update their data as more specific information becomes available.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is dedicated to maintaining the highest possible voter data quality and accurate elections statistics. Every effort is made to assure their accuracy and completeness. Given the complexity of Wisconsin’s elections administration structure and business processes, and despite best efforts and quality control management practices, some residual data errors resulting from compilation by multiple partners may occur. Reviewers of Wisconsin’s voter participation and elections data are encouraged to contact the WEC if errors or omissions in the data are discovered.