Liberal Group Behind Controversial Voter Registration Mailer Blames GAB, Others for Snafu

MacIver News Service | February 24, 2012

[Madison, Wisc…] A national liberal organization that sent tens of thousands of voter registration forms to Wisconsin residents admits some were received by ineligible voters, but believes election officials will catch those cases and not complete the registration for those individuals.

The Voter Participation Center, a nonprofit out of Washington DC, whose staff has ties to Democratic candidates and campaigns, sent approximately 75,000 federal voter registration forms to Wisconsin addresses within the past week. The mailing contained a return envelope to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

The GAB received calls from some of the recipients because the return address was wrong and some forms were sent to minors or people who are already registered. The MacIver News Service also received complaints from three individuals. The Voter Participation Center told the MacIver News Service those errors were not intentional.

“Though no process is 100% accurate, we are as thorough as possible in filtering out inaccurate information when compiling our mailing lists. Our lists undergo multiple filters and review to make them as accurate as possible,” Noah Black, Voter Participation Center Spokesperson, said. “We filter the lists for obvious errors and mistakes and compare our lists to national databases to minimize the likelihood of error. The vendors that VPC contracts with conduct sophisticated matching and filtering processes that cross-reference a national voting age population list purchased from a nationally recognized data vendor. In addition, VPC has instituted additional checks and balances with its mail, data and other vendors to ensure that it is using the most up to date lists, registration information and matching models possible.”

The Center also told the MNS that it used an address listed on the GAB’s website for the return envelope.  It later learned that address was inaccurate.

On Monday, the GAB said if the forms do find their way to its office, the board will not process them.  GAB directed people to send the forms to their local election officials instead.

On Tuesday, the VPC issued a statement that it was considering legal action against the board.  However, a day later, it appeared to back down.

“We encourage recipients of our letters to fill out the form enclosed and return it to the local election officials in their jurisdiction by mail or in person or they can register on Election Day. The list of municipal clerks can be found on the GAB’s website with additional guidance regarding registering by mail, in person and on Election Day,” the statement read.

The Wednesday statement also expressed frustration with the GAB, claiming the board had always cooperated with it in the past.

“The GAB now refuses to forward Wisconsin citizens’ standard NVRA applications to the appropriate municipal election officials throughout Wisconsin – as state election officials in Wisconsin and over 20 other states have done in multiple election cycles since 2004,” said the VPC.

The MacIver News Service contacted the Government Accountability Board about the latest VPC statement.  However, the GAB said it was not aware of the statement at that time and has not provided us with any comment in the days since.