A plan at the Wisconsin capital would allow people to buy the state’s voter registration list for far less money.
Rep Amy Binsfield, R-Sheboygan, introduced her plan that would shrink the cost of Wisconsin’s voter rolls from $12,500 to $250.
“More or less what, we’re trying to do is make sure that the voter registration list is available to our citizens. We want to make sure that it’s not out of grasp when it comes to the price,” Binsfield said.
Binsfield said there’s no reason for Wisconsin’s voter list to cost $12,500. She said it’s not like workers at the Wisconsin Elections Commission have to go and physically print the list any longer.
“But when you think of the fact that we’re dealing with keystrokes I think we can all agree that over time we’ve come a long way from the big paper press that has happened and when we’re talking about keystrokes we don’t want to undermine the fact that the staff working on this is pretty competent to get these lists out fairly quickly,” Binsfield said.
Wisconsin is the fourth most expensive state in the country when it comes to buying voter lists.
“Eleven states are at $0. They give this information out to their voters publicly for $0. It does go as high as $37,000 that happens in Alabama. I’m not sure what they have going on down there but we don’t want to replicate,” Binsfield said.
Binsfield said allowing voters to see who is on the list, and who is off the list, can only help to make sure the list is more accurate.
There are some concerns, however. Rep Scott Krug, R-Nekoosa, said he’s not sure the $250 isn’t too cheap.
“Absolutely prohibitive it is the only challenge I have is the $250. I’m just trying to figure out exactly where cost may be to create the list with the keystrokes deliver the list and if we do enough repetitive it’s probably easily replicated just trying to figure out what that number might be,” Krug said.
Rep. Lee Snodgrass, D-Appleton, said she worries about what will happen to the list if Wisconsin starts to sell it cheap.
“Wisconsin has no restrictions on the use of voter data. So, as written, this bill gives every telemarketer in the world inexpensive access to the names, addresses, phone numbers and emails of every single Wisconsin voter,” Snodgrass said. “So, I guess my concern is yes transparency, but we also have to look at privacy.”
Binsfield said phone numbers are not currently included in Wisconsin’s voter rolls and shouldn’t be included no matter the price.
Wisconsin’s voter registration list is one of the longest in the country. There are currently more than 7 million people listed, because while people are declared inactive they are never actually taken off the list.