The Elections Commission voted unanimously to begin the process of removing up to nearly 188,000 people from the voter rolls after they failed to cast a ballot in the past four years.

During a special virtual meeting yesterday, commissioners approved the new design of a mailer to notify registered voters who haven’t cast a ballot in the past four years they will be removed from the rolls if they don’t respond to the mailing.

Agency Administrator Meagan Wolfe said the new version was designed to increase response rates and clarify parts previous recipients found confusing.

The step approved yesterday is part of a statutorily required mailing the commission has to do every two years. The mailers are sent in the June following a November general election, and the action is separate from the mailing to voters who may have moved that was ultimately the subject of a state Supreme Court ruling earlier this year.

In 2019, the commission sent 113,314 notices with 15,974 returned requesting to continue their registration.

Wolfe said recipients must respond within 30 days or WEC will deactivate their voter registration. The whole process is planned to be completed by July 30 with WEC posting statistics on those deactivations by Aug. 1.

Wolfe added WEC staff estimate there 187,750 people who qualify to receive the mailer, which costs 38 cents per letter, totaling about $71,000 even with the new letters printed in color. Wolfe said color printing no longer incurs a significantly higher cost.

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