MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s elections agency made almost $400,000 in the last two years, by selling information about the state’s registered voters.
The Appleton Post-Crescent said the Government Accountability Board took in $269,000 last year alone. Names, addresses, and voting participation records are sold.
Candidates and political parties find them very helpful in planning their campaign strategies. And because of that, Bill Lueders of the state’s Freedom of Information Council says it’s no surprise that the state is charging what he calls “enormous” fees.
The federal government paid to set up the state’s computerized voter list, as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. But Reid Magney of the Government Accountability Board said the state pays to maintain the system. Therefore, the computer list was granted an exemption from the state’s Open Records Law, which limits fees on public records.
Candidates and parties pay $12,500 to get information on all 3.7 million Wisconsin voters. The Post-Crescent says Wisconsin’s price is among the highest in the Midwest.
Neighboring Minnesota only charges $46 for its statewide voter list. Wisconsin’s fee for partial data is $25, plus $5 for every thousand voters.