February 3, 2022
To: Wisconsin Citizens
From: David A. Clarke Jr., President
Four states are now rolling out a new digital program that allows everyone to download state voter roll data on a daily basis to monitor and track all changes made from the day before. The information will be made public on -line for free for all to see… and every partisan and non-partisan group will now have unfettered access to this vital public information.
Democratization of information is the best way to restore trust in our election system and administration. In those states, the public will be able to see who was added to the voter roll, who was marked inactive and who was actually deleted from the voter roll ON A DAILY BASIS. This information is a bare minimum in policing the voter roll and keeping it accurate and honest.
And, if the data is free and public, local grass roots groups also can see who is voting from where in their communities and can better monitor and challenge any suspected phantom voter. A million eyes watching vs. nobody having any clue how the voter rolls work.
In Wisconsin, the WisVote data available to the public (which excludes birth date, Social Security number, driver license) costs $12,500 PER DAY. If any citizen or grass roots organization wants to run this program, it will cost $4,562,500 PER YEAR! That price is prohibitive and discriminatory for virtually all Wisconsinites.
That price is vastly more than it costs WEC to distribute this data. Currently, when someone pays the $12,500 the data is immediately downloaded. No staff time or materials are involved. This is different from an open records request where staff time and resources are distracted to prepare the requested materials. Here, WEC sells the data to the public in a pre-packaged form and there is no marginal cost to generate an additional copy.
With unfettered access to this vital public information, all partisan groups should have free access to this critical data on a daily basis to monitor the state voter roll. This access is truly beneficial to the public (whose name, address, etc. are in the database) and is currently being sold to millionaires and billionaires and political parties on a daily basis. Today, only the rich can play this game It is time the people of Wisconsin get access to their own data too at a reasonable cost. Voter roll data is a public good and should be available to the public at no cost.