Hundreds of thousands of inactive Wisconsin voters have been removed from local voting rolls as government officials undergo regular maintenance. More than 220,000 voters were removed in May by the Government Accountability Board, the nonpartisan agency tasked with overseeing the state’s elections and campaign finance laws. “Local clerks have recorded who all voted in November, and who didn’t. We can see who hasn’t voted in the last four years, and those people get postcards,” said Reid Magney, a GAB spokesman. If voters didn’t respond to the postcard mailed to their address, they are listed as inactive voters and removed from local voting rolls. The GAB conducts this regular maintenance of voting rolls during odd-numbered years after a presidential or gubernatorial election.
A total of 11,000 voters in Marathon, Portage and Wood counties were removed in the latest round of voter roll maintenance, according to the GAB.
Representing 77.7 percent of the voting age population, 3.4 million residents are registered to vote in Wisconsin.
Marathon, Portage and Wood counties have about 73 to 78 percent of the voting age population registered, but a number of rural central Wisconsin counties are well below the state average.
Adams, Clark, Taylor and Waushara counties are all between 7 and 12 percent below the state average.
These counties’ residents all tend to be less wealthy, less educated and more likely to live in poverty than the state as a whole. Election experts say the fact that these counties have fewer registered voters shouldn’t come as a surprise.