State election officials review November election analysis, report on voters targeted for purge

MADISON, Wis. — As Wisconsin heads into another election season, its election commission is looking back for lessons learned in November. In a virtual session today, the WEC convened to go over an extensive analysis of the November election in Wisconsin.

The WEC reported that none of the voters marked as potentially having moved voted in 2020, and the number had shrunk by two-thirds before the November election. Republicans wanted the state to deactivate more than 200,000 voters on the list who did not respond within 30 days to a notification postcard.

The report included a number of key lessons learned, including an unprecedented average rate of 300 contacts an hour over a 20-hour time frame on Election Day. September was another high point in calls, and overall–contacts to the WEC were up across the board leading up to Election Day. Some of that was from political interest groups, which clogged up response for others.

“That was difficult for us to find some of the contacts when there were realtime questions from both clerks and from our voters,” Wisconsin’s chief elections official Meagan Wolfe explained.

While absentee ballots clearly remained massively popular, Election Day voting at the polls actually increased to 40%, after just a 25% Election Day turnout in April. A tiny fraction–0.02%–of absentee ballots were rejected, a far lower rate than the normal 1-2%.

“It was quite likely that people would learn the process and we would experience fewer rejections,” Republican commissioner Dean Knudson noted.

Despite controversy around the lack of photo ID requirements for indefinitely confined ballots under current Wisconsin law, the report found that almost 80% of indefinitely confined voters had a photo ID on file anyway. Knudson said he believes the state’s indefinitely confined law needed to be changed to include more clear definitions of confinement, age, and other aspects. But Democrat commissioner and chairwoman Ann Jacobs emphasized that there was zero reports of fraud associated with ballots cast indefinitely confined in November’s election.

“We do not have a single complaint that the use of indefinitely confined process meant that a voter who was not eligible to vote cast a ballot,” Jacobs said.

“The elephant in the room is that everybody who is currently serving, got sworn in, got elected on these same rules,” Democrat commissioner Mark Thomsen said. “We are following the law that’s been in place for years.”

Ultimately, Wolfe says this report is to inform the public and help clear up the massive amounts of misinformation Wisconsin saw leading up to and in the wake of November’s election, where Joe Biden took the state by about 21,000 votes.

“It’s then up to the public, the media, and ultimately lawmakers to engage with these facts and decide what is the success and something we want to carry into the future–and where are adjustments needed,” Wolfe said.

The WEC met 40 times in 2020, with 200 clerk communication memos posted during the cycle.