Wisconsin to remove up to 188,000 from voter rolls because they have not voted in 4 years

MADISON – The state Elections Commission unanimously agreed Thursday to start the process of removing as many as 188,000 people from the voter rolls because they have not cast ballots in the last four years.

The bipartisan commission took up the issue three weeks after a lengthy legal fight over whether it should remove tens of thousands of people from the rolls because they were believed to have moved. In a 5-2 ruling this month, the state Supreme Court sided with the commission in finding it did not have to quickly take those voters off the rolls.

Now, the commission is preparing to take action under a state law meant to clear the rolls of those who have not voted in the last four years. The commission is to send them notices giving them 30 days to ask to keep their voter registrations active. 

The notices are to be mailed in June and voters will have until July 15 to ask to remain registered, according to a memo from the commission’s director, Meagan Wolfe.

Elections officials will deactivate the voter registrations of those who do not respond to the mailings, as well as those whose notices are returned to them as undeliverable. The deactivations are expected to be complete by Aug. 1. 

Nearly 188,000 notices are expected to be mailed at a cost of about $71,000, according to Wolfe.

About 38,000 of the voters on the list of those who haven’t recently voted are also believed to have moved, according to commission records. Any time someone moves they need to update their voter registration. 

Voters who are removed from the rolls can re-register online, by mail, in clerk’s offices or at the polls. They will need to have proof of residence to restore their voter registrations. 

Contact Patrick Marley at patrick.marley@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.