State News

Elections commission may have accidentally purged some voters from registration lists in last month’s primary

Image By: Alicia Shoberg and Alicia Shoberg

While attempting to vote in February’s state Supreme Court primary, many Wisconsinites found they were no longer on voter lists, despite following all state laws to remain registered.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said last week it is investigating reports of improper voter purging, but does not yet know why this may have happened.

“We are looking into reports and gathering information from our records, from clerks and from voters to figure out what happened,” said Michael Haas, the former chief administrator, in a statement. “Our goal is to ensure there are no problems at the Spring Election on April 3 or the August Partisan Primary or the General Election in November.”

A state effort last year removed anyone who had recently moved from registration lists, requiring these residents update their address information.

But some voters found that, despite retaining their same address, they were still not eligible to vote and had to register again.

“We are asking voters who experienced a problem at the polls on Tuesday because they were not on the poll list to contact the Commission so we can resolve the issue,” Haas said, encouraging voters to reach administrators to report the issue

As a part of the removal initiative, about 343,000 postcards were sent out to residents who the government flagged as needing to update their information. Those who did not respond to the postcard were removed from voting lists, and it is currently unknown how many of those purged did not actually move.

“While we do not have all of the facts to make definite conclusions at this point, we apologize for any inconvenience experienced by voters if they were required to reregister unnecessarily,” Haas said. “The failsafe is that Wisconsin has Election Day voter registration, so someone who may have been inadvertently removed from the active list can still reregister at the polling place and cast a ballot.”

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