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Wisconsin deactivates 205,000 voters from registration rolls

The deactivation doesn't mean, however, they are being dropped from the rolls.

Updated: August 4, 2021 - 11:13pm

More than 200,000 people in Wisconsin are being deactivated from the state’s voter registration list, but they are not being dropped.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Wednesday announced it has deactivated 205,000 people from the state’s voter rolls.

“The first group of more than 174,000 voters we deactivated have not voted in the past four years and did not respond to a mailing,” Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said.

Another 31,000 voters were deactivated because they moved.

WEC mailed postcards to nearly 187,000 voters who had not voted in years. Just 6% (approximately 12,000) of voters responded and kept their voter registration. Nearly 63,000 postcards came back as undeliverable. More than 112,000 voters didn’t respond at all.

Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, who is leading the Assembly’s review of last year’s election said a lot of people will read "deactivated" as "dropped." She said they are not the same thing.

“There are a lot of people who are on Wisconsin’s voter registration list, and a lot of them are simply inactive,” Brandtjen told The Center Square.

WEC said there are 4.6 million people of voting age in Wisconsin, and 3.5 million of them are actively registered. WEC says there are 7.1 million people on the state’s voter rolls in total.

“Once you register to vote in Wisconsin, your name will always remain on our voting list,” WEC spokesman Reid Magney said.

Mageny said none of the 205,000 people deactivated this month voted in 2020. In fact, he said the last time many of them voted was back in 2016.

Still, Brandtjen questioned the potential for abuse of leaving hundreds of thousands of people on the voter registration list when they haven’t voted in years.

“You have to ask if leaving inactive voters on the rolls is the right procedure to gain confidence in our electoral process,” Brandtjen said.

Anyone who is on Wisconsin’s inactive voter list can become active again. They will simply need to re-register. In Wisconsin, voters can both register and vote on election day.

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