MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Nearly 100,000 Wisconsin voters identified as potentially having moved since the fall of 2019 are being mailed post cards from the state Elections Commission this week telling them how to ensure their registration address is up to date.
The mailing is the first since the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in April that the commission should not deactivate the registration of anyone identified as potentially having moved. Local election clerks can remove voters from the rolls, but they must first give them notice in writing 30 days ahead of taking that action.
State law requires voters who move, even to a different apartment within the same building, to reregister to vote at their new address before the next time they vote. Voters can also register at their current address at the polls on Election Day.
The mailing sent to about 97,700 voters identified as potentially having moved tells them how to update their voter registration if they have moved, or how to confirm that they have not moved. Updating an address can be done online, by mail, in the local election clerk’s office or at the polls.
“We want voters to be prepared for elections in 2022,” Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief elections official, said Wednesday. “This mailing is designed to help people who may have moved within Wisconsin make sure they’re ready to vote next year. It will not keep anyone who is eligible from voting.”
The Elections Commission plans to send the mailing quarterly, with the next sets going out in September and December. It had been sending them every two years, but decided in June to send them more frequently to make the process more manageable for clerks.
The fight over how to deal with voters identified as potentially having moved began in 2019 with a lawsuit brought by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on behalf of three voters. They argued that flagged voters should be removed soon after the mailings are sent, but the Supreme Court disagreed in a 5-2 ruling and said deactivating voter registrations is up to local election clerks, not the state commission.
Last month, the commission mailed nearly 187,000 people who have not voted in four years to notify them that their voter registration will be deactivated unless they contact their municipal clerk by July 15.