Wisconsin places inactive voters back on rolls, key lawmaker calls it 'mind-boggling'

"Why we are returning anyone to the rolls in a state where anyone can vote as long as you have a voter ID is mind-boggling," Rep. Janel Brandtjen says.

Updated: August 29, 2022 - 11:38pm

Few answers, if any, are being given about the move from Wisconsin’s election managers to put inactive voters back on the state’s voter rolls.

“Why we are returning anyone to the rolls in a state where anyone can vote as long as you have a voter ID is mind-boggling,” said Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls.

The Elections Commission never responded to questions from The Center Square as to how many voters are being reactivated, or how the commission chose the voters being added back to the MyVote system. It did say how many will remain inactive.

Brandtjen asked, too, and said she hasn’t gotten any answers.

“As a legislator, I would think we have the ability to pick up the phone and speak to the commission; instead it’s silence or an email weeks later. The dysfunction is just so real,” Brandtjen added. “The adversarial relation between the administration and the legislature doesn’t inspire confidence in voters.”

The Wisconsin Elections Commission in mid-August sent a note to clerks about voter reactivations.

“As part of ongoing litigation in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the WEC is reactivating select voter records previously deactivated on July 31, 2021. These were voters identified in the 2019 Active Movers cohort who had not submitted a new voter registration, affirmed their address, or voted in an election between October 2019 and July 2021,” the Elections Commission said in a communication to clerks.

Brandtjen leads the Assembly Committee on Elections and has been looking into the Elections Commission, the state’s voter rolls, Wisconsin’s MyVote system, and the opportunity for voter fraud in the state since immediately after the 2020 election.

Brandtjen’s displeasure with the Elections Commission is not a secret. She has butted heads with the commission and its administrator, Meagan Wolfe, several times. In July, Brandtjen filed a lawsuit against the commission accusing it of voter fraud.

Brandtjen said Wisconsin’s election law must be clear, and be followed; otherwise voters won’t have confidence in the 2022 or 2024 elections.

“If we’re not going to follow the laws, or tell me what you are telling clerks it puts the whole election in question,” Brandtjen added.