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Voter registration lists easier to obtain with new website


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Voter lists just got easier for campaigns and political groups to buy, just in time for the summer campaign season.

Reid Magney is with the Government Accountability Board, which manages the Statewide Voter Registration System. He says their new website called Badger Voters allows people an easier and faster way to purchase voter lists, and they can narrow it down to the specific area they are campaigning in.  Magney says the information helps candidates know where to focus their efforts. “They want to know who’s in their area, so when they go door-to-door, they can say, they’ll know when they’re going to Mrs. Smith’s house or Mr. Jones’ house, and that those voters are people who regularly vote in city council election or something like that. Or, if you’re running for the Assembly, they want to know who’s there. It can be for the door-to-door. It can be for direct mail.”

The voter lists have always been available as a public record, but the new website allows online payment and same day access. The voter lists, either by website or the old paper or CD delivery systems, only disclose the name, address, and voting districts. Magney says other sensitive information is not on the list.  “Your age and your date of birth is not on there, your driver’s license number is not on there, your Social Security number is not on there. There’s a number of other things about certain voters that we also keep confidential, for example, if you’ve been the victim of sexual assault or stalking and you’ve been a confidential voter, we never sell that information.”

Campaigns have to pay for the voter lists. Magney says the fee varies on how much data they need. He says local races such as county board or city council are very inexpensive.  “The price is going to be $25.00 plus $5.00 per thousand voters, so they might spend $30.00, $35.00, $40.00 on it, but for somebody who’s running for U.S. Senate or running for a statewide office and they want to buy the whole state’s list, they’re going to spend $12,500 for that.”

Users must sign up for an account through the Department of Administration. Magney says the information is still available the old way, too.

(Listen to our interview with Reid Magney on our website, here.)