Following my last diary, Do Our Votes Count, I decided to follow up and the Government Accountability Board (GAB) to get more information about what will happen to people who registered to vote on June 5th but weren’t in the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) by the cut off date for poll lists – which is 20 days before the election. I sent off an email to the GAB at 7:28 on Monday morning but, not expecting to hear back right away, I decided to call the City of Madison’s Clerk’s office a little later.
I got through right away and was put through to someone who works with registrations and explained my concern about new registrants from June 5th not being entered into the SVRS in time to be on the poll lists. As nice as the man on the other end of the phone was, he wasn’t aware of the 20-day cut-off that is stated in the Election Day Manual. And, though he made every effort to reassure me that everyone who registered to vote on June 5th would be on the poll lists for the August 14th election, he offered no explanation as to how they would be on the list if the cut-off date had already passed. A bit disappointed, I thanked him for his time…and hoped for a more complete response from the GAB.
Two days and two emails later the GAB did, in fact, get back to me with a much better response. Jason Fischer, an Elections Specialist at the GAB, said the following:
”Individuals who registered to vote for the June 5 election should be appearing in VPA. The information in VPA comes directly from our Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS). Municipal clerks should've entered in all registrants for the June 5 election by this time. Individuals who have questions about their registration status should contact their municipal clerk.While his response doesn’t tell me precisely, I am inclined to believe that when he refers to “late registrants” he is including not just people who registered after July 25th, but also people who were entered in the SVRS after that date - which would include every new (and updated) registration from the June 5th recall election.
Electors who register to vote 19 days or less before the election may or may not appear on the poll book. Municipal clerks may begin printing poll books after the close of open registration -- the closing date is the 20th day before the election. For the August 14, 2012, election, this date was July 25, 2012. However, some municipal clerks wait to print their poll books closer to the election allow for late registrants to appear on the poll book. If these late registrants are not on the poll book, their names would appear on the supplemental poll list, which contains the names of all voters who register from the 19th day before the election until the time the list is printed. A handwritten supplemental poll list is created after this point.”
Now, to be sure, I have faith that the City of Madison Clerk’s office will see to it that everyone who registered in time for this election is on at least one poll list, but can the same be said for every municipality in Wisconsin? I have my doubts... Regardless, it all remains to be seen on August 14, 2012.