Analysis conducted by John Connors, Campaign Now Founder and President
An analysis conducted by Texas based, data-driven political consulting firm, Campaign Now, finds that the State of Wisconsin Elections Commission or WEC, deactivated 28,080 likely Democratic voters from the state voter rolls in 2023. The number of likely Democratic voters eliminated from the rolls was nearly 45% more than likely Republican voters eliminated during the mandated maintenance purge executed in July of 2023.
Background: Wisconsin's four-year maintenance process
The Wisconsin Elections Commission, or WEC, the governing elections body of one of the most critical swing states for the 2024 election, announced it had deactivated 108,378 voter records in its four year maintainence process of the state voter file. The voter file purge is required by a state law enacted during the term of Republican Governor Scott Walker and a GOP controlled legislature.
Meagan Wolfe, WEC Administrator, stated that voters who were deactivated from the rolls have not voted in the past four years and have not responded to mailings from the agency regarding their registration status.
“The Four-Year Maintenance process helps keep our voter registration database as clean and updated as possible,” Wolfe said. “The deactivations are a combination of voters who have moved to a new address without re-registering, voters who have died, others who have asked to have their registrations deactivated, and those who simply have not voted.”
“The Wisconsin Elections Commission and its staff take voter list maintenance very seriously,” Wolfe said. “Along with the Four-Year Maintenance effort, the WEC works continually with local election officials to help keep the registration lists current.”
Our analysis of deactivated Wisconsin voters
Campaign Now, a trusted GOP conservative grassroots advocacy and consulting firm, reviewed the deactivated voter data in the Wisconsin voter file after being contacted by grassroots leaders in the state. The analysis of deactivated voters used proprietary micro targeting models that are appended to the government's voter file allowing analysts to identify the following trends among the deactivated voters in Wisconsin. Campaign Now analyzed a sample of 599,243 voters who participated in one of the last four general elections in the state but have been deactivated by the WEC in the last 24 months. By analyzing a larger sample than the 108,378 deactivated list in 2023, our team believes that this is a more accurate representation of likely deactivated voter trends that will be helpful to political and public policy leaders in the key swing state.
Wisconsin voter rolls at a glance
The Wisconsin Elections Commission currently has 3,461,139 voters in the state elections database. An analysis of a proprietary voter data file by Campaign Now. shows that Wisconsin currently has 3,437,511 voters, slightly lower than the state’s number and 2,512,832 cumulative voter records are flagged as deactivated in this file.
A closer look at deactivated Wisconsin voters
Of the inactive voters we studied, 1,900,038 haven’t voted in the last four general elections so the focus was on deactivated voters who had voted in at least one of the past four general elections.
According to the proprietary file, we found 599,243 voters participated in at least one of the last four general elections but have been removed from the voter rolls for whatever reason cited by the WEC report (death, move out of state, etc).
This sample of 599,243 was the sample used to conduct the following analysis of demographics and likely partisanship based on government based data and proprietary models.
The demographics of these voters break down as such.
Younger voters deactivated at higher rates
|Percentage of Deactivated WI Voters
|18 - 34
|35 - 44
|45 - 54
|55 - 64
Note: Voter records with unidentified age accounted for 16% of the sample
40% of deactivated voters from southeastern Wisconsin40% of the deactivated voters live or lived in Southeastern Wisconsin or the Milwaukee media market. These counties include Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Walworth and Sheboygan.
Per proprietary modeling, the partisan make-up of deactivated voters suggests that nearly 45% more Democratic voters were deactivated than Republican voters in the July 2023 purge. Wisconsin does not register or track voters by party affiliation, so the partisan breakdown relies on a highly predictive partisan model, which identifies the voter’s party affiliation with 85-95% accuracy.
Therefore, according to the analysis of 599,243 deactivated voters who have voted in at least one of the past four general elections, the data suggests that approximately 28,000 likely Democratic voters were eliminated during the recent purge of 108,378 voter records by the Wisconsin Election Commission, nearly 45% more than likely Republican voters.
Partisan breakdown of proprietary voter data file of 599,473 deactivated Wisconsin voters
|Likely Party Affiliation
|# Deactivated Voter Records
We cross referenced voting activity in the past two general elections within the entire deactivated Wisconsin voter file. Our analysis found that approximately 93,000 voters who are now marked as deactivated by the WEC voted in the 2022 midterm election, while 220,000 voted in the 2020 presidential election.
Campaign Now used a proprietary voter file to analyze the demographics and partisan make-up of Wisconsin’s inactive voters, a data tag provided by the WEC.
- Campaign Now focused on inactive voters who participated in at least one election of the last four general elections. The sample size was 599,243 records.
- The analysis was conducted as a snapshot of active and inactive voters on August 31st, 2023.
- The “inactive flag” for Campaign Now’s proprietary data tags were ingested into the database, with the source being the State of WI Elections Commission as the file regularly updated.
- Wisconsin does not register voters by party so Campaign Now analyzed likely partisan models which utilizes micro-targeting, a comprehensive applied approach to determining partisan likelihood based on an algorithm that computes qualitative and quantitative research, mass based voter and public opinion surveys and consumer preferences to create a predictive partisan score.
Campaign Now urges conservative political organizations and nonprofits to audit, reactivate deactivated voters
It is a significantly more expensive proposition to replace a voter by registering a new voter than it is to simply re-engage voters who have not voted. According to our research, it can cost hundreds of dollars to register a brand new voter, while it is much less expensive to simply keep citizens engaged and encourage voters to keep their registration up to date and regularly participate in critical elections.
The main reasons why many voters do not keep their voter profile active with the state are as follows:
Voters on the move
Nearly 10-15% of the Wisconsin voter file is potentially moving or has moved in the last year. Per USPS data, as of 2022 there are 163.1 million addresses and/or delivery points for USPS. In the 2022 post-pandemic reporting year, USPS reported 33.2 million address changes. This is significant because that means around 20% of deactivated voters in Wisconsin could just be moving and may not have re-registered.
Voters not motivated or encouraged to engage in the election
Some voters simply do not feel motivated or encouraged to participate in elections. This is a particularly important factor when looking ahead to the 2024 presidential elections, where both President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump are experiencing historic levels of unfavorability, even within their own parties.
With so much on the line in the 2024 presidential election, particularly in states like Wisconsin, it is critical that conservative political activists spend their time and resources identifying and re-activating low-propensity conservative voters. In Wisconsin in particular, conservatives would be well-served to take a hard look at voters who have recently been taken off the rolls and strategize how to re-engage historically Republican voters.