Wisconsin Elections asks Presidential Election Integrity Commission for $12,500 to release voting records

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has responded to the request for Wisconsin’s voter list and other information about elections by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (PACEI).

“I am honored to report that Wisconsin state and local election officials along with many fellow citizens conducted a thorough statewide recount of the November 2016 Presidential Election in December 2016,” Thomsen said in the letter. “We are confident that the results are accurate and do not contain any statistically significant number of votes cast by persons who were not eligible to vote. We are proud of our open, honest and clean elections here in the Badger State.”

In the letter, Elections Commission's Chair Thomsen informed PACEI Vice-Chair Kris Kobach that Wisconsin will provide publicly-available data for the statutorily-required fee of $12,500. At this time, the federal government has not paid the fee and no data will be provided until the fee has been paid.

By law, most of the information in Wisconsin’s voter registration system is public and is available for purchase, and is commonly purchased by political parties, candidates, researchers and other organizations. A voter’s name, address and voting history are public, and this information has already been provided to campaigns and other requestors who have paid for it. Wisconsin does not collect any information about a voter’s political preference or gender.

Wisconsin statutes do not permit the state to release a voter’s date of birth, driver license number or partial Social Security number. State statutes permit the WEC to share confidential information in limited circumstances with law enforcement agencies or agencies of other states. The Presidential Commission does not qualify under either of these categories.

The WEC does not have the discretion to deny a request for the public information in the voter registration database if the required fee is paid. By administrative rule, the price is $12,500 for the entire statewide voter file, and Wisconsin law does not contain any provision for waiving the fee for voter data.

Milwaukee Mayor Barrett released a statement Sunday strongly disagreeing with the release of any confidential information maintained in the State’s voter registration database:

“Not only am I concerned with what types of information could be released, I am equally concerned with how the public is perceiving this request and how their perceptions may impact their continued participation in voting,” Mayor Barrett said. “With residents already requesting to inactivate their voter registration records, we must assure them that we are protecting their privacy and the integrity of our voter information system.”

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