The Racial Burden of Voter List Maintenance Errors: Evidence from Wisconsin's Supplemental Movers Poll Books
Science Advances, Vol. 7, Issue 8, 2021
9 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2021
Date Written: February 2021
Administrative records are increasingly used to identify registered voters who may have moved, with potential movers then sent postcards asking them to confirm their address of registration. It is important to understand how often these registrants did not move, and how often such an error is not corrected by the postcard confirmation process, because uncorrected errors make it more difficult for a registrant to subsequently vote. While federal privacy protections generally prevent researchers from observing the data necessary to estimate these quantities, we are able to study this process in Wisconsin because special poll books, available via public records requests, listed those registrants who were identified as potential movers and did not respond to a subsequent postcard. At least 4% of these registrants cast a ballot at their address of registration, with minority registrants twice as likely as white registrants to do so.
Keywords: election administration, election law, voter list maintenance, empirical legal studies
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