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Voter Registration System Data Interfaces Working, Wisconsin Now Compliant With Federal Law

Posted in
Date: 
August 6, 2008

MADISON, WI – Wisconsin’s Elections Division Tuesday announced to local election officials across the state that voter registration system interfaces linking voter data with death, felony and driver’s license records are now functioning.

State election officials can now cross-check voter data with records from the Departments of Transportation, Corrections and Health Services to ensure the accuracy of voter records in the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS). In addition, Wisconsin is now compliant with federal law which requires that local clerks be able to verify specific voter information.

“We have jumped another hurdle as we prepare for an important fall election cycle,” said Kevin Kennedy, director of the Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.). “Clerks can now use the SVRS to help verify voter information and better ensure the trustworthiness of Wisconsin’s elections.”

Since late June, on-line training has been available to local election officials who wanted to prepare to use the data interfaces. Those interfaces allow election officials to check a driver license number used on a voter registration form against Wisconsin Department of Transportation records, for example.

“As with any new computer functionality, there will be a trial period that will require some corrections to the system,” said Nat Robinson, Elections Division Administrator. “We are prepared to deal with any bugs our local election officials may find and respond accordingly.”

Since 2006, the State has provided local election officials with lists of state residents currently serving felony sentences and deceased Wisconsinites to allow cross-checking with local voter lists. Now, however, those officials will be able to conduct an automatic check inside the SVRS, saving time and increasing efficiency and accuracy.

Elections Division staff are also available to local election official to answer questions about how the data cross-checking in the SVRS works. New data, such as updated death records and felon files, will be loaded into the system on a monthly basis.

“Our partners at the state Department of Administration, Division of Enterprise Technology -- especially Oskar Anderson and Herb Thompson -- deserves credit for making this work,” Robinson said. “This has been a cooperative effort to serve Wisconsin’s citizens and make sure we comply with federal law.”

For the September 9 statewide partisan primary election and the November 4 general election, local election officials will now be able to check any new voter registration entered into the SVRS with data that shows who is serving a felony conviction and who has died recently in Wisconsin. If the data shows a probable match, the municipal or county clerk can then investigate the voter data further to make sure no one who is ineligible to vote is on the poll list.

The Elections Division is now preparing a statement to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission from G.A.B. Director Kevin Kennedy certifying that the SVRS complies with the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).

For more information, contact: 

Reid Magney, public information officer, 608-267-7887