GAB responds to Greater Wisconsin mailer - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

GAB responds to Greater Wisconsin mailer

MADISON (WKOW) -- The state elections board is addressing a recent direct-mail flier from the Greater Wisconsin Committee after receiving a large number of complaints.

The Government Accountability Board says it is not responsible for the flier.

The GAB says the flier lists the names and addresses of the recipient's neighbors, as well as whether they voted in the 2008 and 2010 general elections. The flier states that the information came from the Government Accountability Board.

The GAB says many callers are upset that this information has been released.

Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the GAB, notes the following about voter records:

  • Voter records (including voting history) are public records, and have been since the days they were kept in handwritten books in the municipal clerk's office. State voter registration records have been all-digital since 2006.
  • State law requires the GAB. to sell certain data contained in the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS). The cost to purchase the list for the entire state is $12,500.
  • Voters' date of birth and other personal information, such as driver license or state ID number, or the last four digits of a Social Security number, are never sold.
  • The Greater Wisconsin mailer also appears to have information about inactive and canceled voters who are no longer eligible to vote without reregistering, or who may be deceased. The group may also have used other commercially-available mailing lists in preparing the flier.
  • Political committees and interest groups buy the statewide voter list information regularly, and use it to send direct mail messages to voters. They also use it to send out pre-filled absentee ballot applications.
  • Candidates and political groups also use this information to prepare "walking lists" for door-to-door canvassers.
  • This is the first time to our knowledge that a group has used information in voter lists this way. There is no state law that prohibits such practices, since the information is public.

The GAB says those who are concerned about the mailer should contact the Greater Wisconsin Political Action Committee at 608-467-0300; write them at PO Box 861, Madison, WI 53701; or contact them online.


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