New Voter Registration System Allows Statewide Data Comparison
MADISON, WI – The State Elections Board has sent letters to county district attorneys in Wisconsin requesting investigation of 82 potential cases of election fraud from the November 7, 2006 election.
Elections Board staff matched the names of people on supervision as part of a felony sentence with those of people who were recorded as voting by the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS). Under state law, people under community supervision or on parole for a felony are not allowed to vote.
District attorneys must still investigate to verify that the 82 voters were the same individuals identified as serving felony sentences in early November. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) and local election officials recently were asked to double check the potential matches, and 24 names were removed during that review.
“We can now track voters, and people who shouldn’t vote, across municipal boundaries throughout the state,” said Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the Elections Board. “While 82 potential cases are a miniscule number when compared with overall turn-out, Wisconsin now has an even better tool to double-check for election fraud.”
To perform the audit, Elections Board staff compared approximately 41,500 names from a DOC list with 2,162,438 million voter records from last fall’s election in the SVRS. In recent years, the DOC has implemented new requirements to inform persons with felony convictions about their ineligibility to vote while under supervision.
Since July 2006, Wisconsin law has required a “post-election audit” to compare active voters and current felons in order to determine if any person still serving a felony sentence voted illegally. A comparison of the current felon list with active voters will be done after each statewide election. Following this initial comparison, the DOC will work cooperatively with law enforcement to further investigate the 82 potential cases.
In addition, use of the SVRS database has uncovered other issues pertaining to election fraud and identify theft. During the felon/voter comparison, local election officials
uncovered one potential case of identity theft after a voter was mistakenly identified as a felon and discovered her name and identifying information were being used by another person.
And local clerks in West Allis and Wauwatosa spotted a potential case of double-voting when a standard scanning of voter participation showed that one voter had cast ballots in both municipalities on November 7, 2006. The case is scheduled for trial in June.
“While we are still getting up to speed, the SVRS is proving its worth,” Kennedy said. “Local election officials now have a common tool to communicate about and verify potential problems in Wisconsin’s election system.”