On Thursday, Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) sent a letter to Attorney General Van Hollen to ask the Department of Justice to investigate why the Government Accountability Board (GAB) is ignoring the law.
On Wednesday, RightWisconsin broke the news that the GAB failed to conduct a mandatory 90-day purge of the State Voter Registration System (SVRS) after the November 2012 general election. And not only did they miss the 90-day deadline, the GAB told RightWisconsin that they would not pursue the maintenance until after the April 2 Spring Election.
Sen. Vukmir and Rep. Ott were two of the first lawmakers to express outrage at the GAB’s brazen disregard for the law. And on Thursday, the pair of lawmakers issued the following letter to the Attorney General.
Dear Attorney General Van Hollen,
It has come to our attention that the Government Accountability Board (GAB) is in violation of state law as prescribed by state statute.
Under Wisconsin Statute s. 6.50, "Within 90 days following each general election, the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners of each municipality shall…identify each elector who has not voted within the previous 4 years…" and notify them that "…your voter registration will be suspended….for failure to vote within the previous 4-year period unless you apply for continuation of your registration within 30 day."
As you can see, the responsibility to contact voters that have not voted in the last four years lies with representatives of the municipality. However, the GAB has assumed this responsibility in violation of state law. The GAB has justified assuming this responsibility due to their ability to do this more efficiently because individual municipalities were not performing their duties. However, the GAB has missed the 90 day deadline after the last two general elections. The GAB has assumed these responsibilities set out in statute but have failed to carry out these requirements either through choice or neglect.
Keeping an updated State Voter Registration System is imperative to having clean elections in our state. Individuals that have not voted during the last 4 years should have to reregister before voting again. Under the GAB’s oversight, those individuals were allowed to vote in the 2011 Spring Elections and will be allowed to vote in next month’s election.
We respectfully request that your office investigates the refusal of the GAB to carry out this very important responsibility that they have assumed in conflict with state law.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Representative Jim Ott Senator Leah Vukmir
23rd Assembly District 5th Senate District
When RightWisconsin asked Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen about the revelations on Wednesday, Department of Justice Communications Director Dana Brueck said, "We are not going to comment on a specific situation based only on a media report. However, we believe that government agencies should follow the law."