Due to a technological change, Wisconsin voter data included telephone numbers

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In connection with that theory, a meme recently began recirculating on Twitter with thousands of retweets and likes that claims there were more than 23,203 registered voters in Racine County, Wisconsin, that have the same phone number, leading many to suspect some sort of foul play. This claim dates back to at least November 2021 when The Gateway Pundit ran a story alleging the more than 23,203 registered voters that have the same phone number is proof of voter fraud because Biden won Wisconsin by only 20,000 votes.

After a system upgrade, the phone number showed on thousands of inactive voter registration records for Racine County, the majority of which were unable to vote. Voters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, wait in line outside a polling place on Election Day as shown in this photo from November 3, 2020. (Wong Maye-E, File, AP Photo) Although some have long asserted that former President Donald Trump truly won the election and that his victory was disregarded due to voter fraud, President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Highlights

  • John Smalley, public information officer for the Wisconsin Election Commission. Help America Vote Act of 2002. No, during the 2020 election there were not 23,203 Racine County, Wisconsin voters registered with the same phone number. Most of those people who appeared to have the same phone number weren’t eligible to vote.

  • In Racine County, Trump beat Biden by about 4 points, but Biden won the state of Wisconsin by a less-than 1 point margin, according to certified election results. During the 2020 election, were there 23,203 Racine County, Wisconsin voters registered with the same phone number?

The WEC includes an explanation as to why there are repeated phone numbers on the voter rolls on the frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) page of their website, Smalley said. Prior to 2005, municipalities with more than 5,000 people were required to keep track of voter registrations, either in their own database or spreadsheet. In 2006, the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS), now known as WisVote, was launched and the data from all municipalities was merged into a centralized system, as mandated by federal law.

There were thousands of people in the voter registration database that did appear to have the same phone number, but not because they were fake voters. It’s because of a system upgrade to the voter registration system, John Smalley, the public information officer for the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) told VERIFY. The system was upgraded 14 years before the 2020 election.

There could still be active, or eligible, voters in Racine County with the placeholder phone number still next to their name. When the FAQ was posted to the WEC website, there were 384 active voters in the registration database with the placeholder number. Smalley said at the time of this publication, there could be less than that.

WisVote can only be accessed by authorized users with security training, so VERIFY could not independently confirm the actual number of people in Racine with the same placeholder phone number attached to their voter record. VERIFY reached out to Racine County but did not hear back at the time of publication.

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