VOTER ROLL TRIVIA - The 2021 Archive The more we know the facts, the more we can bring truth into the bright light where it belongs. This is our effort to engage and we are doing it by sharing fun facts and only facts. Res Ipsa Loquitur! REQUEST YOUR DATA

Q22. What are the top 3 counties in registrants (2021 WEC voter roll) to population (2020 census)?

A. Oddly enough the top 3 in our list: Vilas, Waukesha and Winnebago. This does cause us to scratch our heads. Why would most have a ratio of > 1?

We surmised that throwing in the ballot totals might shed some light. No light was shed.

Hmm. Back to head-scratching.

Q21. Which city received the most Zuckerface/CTCL cash to help ensure a COVID-free election in 2020?
BONUS: What was the amount per voter? (true, this technically is not a crappy WEC data question, but variety keeps us sane)

A. Duh. The city of Milwaukee received the lion share of the "keep elections safe" booty. Of the CTCL grant, Tom Luxembourg Barrett and gang received about 34% of the total. The amount per voter? The CTCL budget for Milwaukee was $13.82 per voter. Big shout-out to city of Racine that bitch-slapped the competition with $80 per JB vote.

Here are the top ten cities (population) that received 92% of the total $10 million zuckbucks, which represents 22% of total ballots cast in all 72 counties. Whoa - sucks bigtime for Oshkosh, the city that wasn't invited to the prom.    QUESTIONS/FEEDBACK

Source: Ballot/Vote data provided by WEC via StatBandit

Columns defined
CTCL '16 Basis: The CTCL budget allocation
Zucker Award: Amount that went to that city
Adult Population: Census data of peeps who can legally vote
WH, BL, HI: WHite, BLack and HIspanic
PreRegs: Voters registered before election day
ED Regs: Voters who registered on election day
TotalRegs: You can do the math
2020 Ballots: Total ballots cast as per WEC
TO: Turnout (ballots/totalregs)
$/Vote: Comparison to CTCL budget using total votes
J Votes: Votes for JB
$/JB: Allocation of $ to JB votes (because we all know, this was their target)

Q20. What is the most unusual duplicate registration "number" in the WEC voter roll? Bonus points: How many?

A. This was one of those trick questions and the "number" was the clue. Congrats and big shout-out to Sally from Iowa county for picking up on that. The answer is, the most unusual "number" in the WEC dataset is NOT A NUMBER because, Western Technical College is found in the Voter Reg Number field. So bottom line: The data element WEC refers to as the voter registration number is not a number.

As per the official WEC database documenation, the field known as Voter Reg Number is not a number. Here's how they describe it: Alpha-numeric customer number encrypted with voter registration number

So when you see a Voter Reg Number like 701472814, do not let your eyes play a trick. That is not a number, it's what's called an alpha-numeric. As for their definition, that the number is encrypted with the number is kinda weird and Wester Technical College is a great example.

The bonus We only looked in one county and found ~600 of them. But the question someone should ask, how is this "alpha-numeric" anomoly part of the official voter roll? Two possibilities: 1) Database ineptitude or 2) Intentional obfuscation

Q19. One might assume that old people, especially dead ones, will have a lower voter registation number. Does the WEC data support this hypothesis?

A. We selected Vilas county to see if a correlation existed between registation numbers and registration dates. Results: ~62% which does indicate some correlation.

The county data, via a scatter chart, was not what we expected. Sample sizes: 1,000, 5,000 and 10K.

Because we converted the registration date to a number, we can compute the average record age of all registants for Vilas county which comes to Tue Mar 22 1977 18:14:10 GMT-0500 (CDT) or 45 years ago -- a blistering example of how "stats" can be tasty stupid fodder. Vilas has almost 11,000 registrants that have a reg date of less than 1920. That's like 30% of everyone registered in the county. But we assume these turn-of-the-century numbers are WEC-plugged values and as such, do not represent the true age of the record.

For comparison, Jefferson county has an average registrant date of Tue May 25 2004 06:13:44 GMT-0500 (CDT) or 18 years ago. Here's a scatter of 5000 registrants. The total county, of ~90K registrants, has a wimpy correlation of 47%.

So, does WEC data show a date-registration number correlation? MOSTLY NO

Q18. Gobble gobble. How many people registered to vote on Thanksgiving?

A. Thanksgiving is one of those events that doesn't fall on the same date each year. This year is was on the 25th. Last year it was the 26th. In 2019 it was the 28th and the year before that... it was the 22nd.

The answer: We don't know. We never even tried to find the answer. The only reason for this question was we needed something to post next to the cartoon turkey. Hope you are enjoying the left-overs.

Q17. Milwaukee county is #1 on the leader board with 282,886 registered voters who applied before 1920. Of all pre-1920 registrants, Milwaukee accounts for 49% of them. How many other counties combined equal that same percentage?

A. After Milwaukee, it took the next 36 counties to equal that quantity pre-1920 registrants.

What's interesting maybe is the ratio of really old people to the total registrants for each county. So for Milwaukee, which had 1,378,269 on the voter roll last November, only 2.4% were really old.

Yes, we have heard the tales of the 1918 dates. As per WEC folklore, when they converted the old to the new, many application dates were missing. So instead of leaving that field blank, someone had the idea of using 1/1/1918 as a default date.

Ok, fine. Let's go with that. If that's the case, one would expect all counties to have a somewhat similar ratio of really old people to total registrants. How is it that Door and Vilas counties average 32%? (click the image to zoom)

Milwaukee had 1,378,269 registrants -- the other 36 had 4,570,626. Milwaukee had almost 50% of the WEC-generated pre-1920 dates. If anyone has any theories, we would love to hear 'em.

Q16. How many page views is AP76 getting because of this trivia/Ghost Finder stuff?

A. As of 01/22/2022 02:05 am here is the click volume along with the distribution of where they originated:

WI(23%)  WA(7%)  OR(5%)  IL(3%)  US(70%)  Canada(9%)  Ireland(2%)  Germany(3%)  FBook(1%)  UNK(49%)  CCP/RU(9%)
Chrome(31%)  Win10(14%)  Win7(7%)  Android(8%)  iPhone(8%)  Mac(6%)

CCP/RU are clicks from China and Russia. Unknowns are IPs that did not resolve to a location and likely represent those dastardly search engine/spy bots.

Q15. What's an example of a false positive as it pertains to multiple people connected to the same address?

A. There are many examples of FALPOs when one assumes all USPS adddresses within the WEC data are deliverable. They are not.

A registrant is supposed to have a valid mail-to address. By valid, it means the voter can be reliably contacted via that address. If a registrant entry is challenged, they must respond to a postcard asking them to confirm they are still at that address.

Here is an example of a soft false positive

This address was reported as having 10+ voters connected to this one dwelling. This qualifies as a FALPO because someone did not include their unit/lot/trailer number when they registered. You can test this in Ghost Finder by entering 834 E Broadway. Here's the output for that search.

This is a soft false positive because it's possible the USPS mail carrier would recognize the name and make the delivery. A better example would be when a registrant address points to a university or college without a res-hall and unit number.

Q14. What are the terrible ten counties that were direct recipients of the Zukerface cash and what % of total ballots did they represent?

A. We had to toss Waukesha in there because the city by that name received $42,000. The total ballots cast by these 10 counties represents 50.22% of all ballots for the state. FYI: RU is a Reporting Unit, also known as a polling location, includes one or more wards.

Question to ponder: Why did Racine get 22 times the amount of Zucker funding than Waukesha which is twice the population size?

DISCLAIMER: These counties are not literally terrible. We just needed a word that began with the letter T. None of our insightful blathering here is ever intended to cast a dark cloud over an entire group just because one of their cities received large sacks of unrestricted cash from a group funded by Facebook.

Q13. Is it possible to use the WEC voter roll to find irregularities for all elder care facilities in the state?

A. YES, but you would first need the addresses of all facilities in the state. You would then join those addresses with the WEC dataset. Now you have all the registrants for all the elder care facilities.

Downside: That will be a large haystack in which to find the needles. Using one of the five types of licensed facilities as a benchmark, the report will contain ~100,000 registrants.

Q12. In November of last year, there were 6,994,642 in the voter roll. In July of 2021, about 206,000 registrants were purged. How many fewer are in the voter roll today?

A. That was a trick question as it implied the answer is less than 6,994,642. It's possible a "purge" of 206K did happen in July, but without before and after datasets, we have no idea which records were flipped to inactive.

Bottom line: Since November of 2020, the voter roll has increased by 120,842 voters. Total number of registrants is now 7,115,485. So EVERY published article where they indicate Wisconsin election officials have removed is 100% false. When they say "removed" it just means the registrant has been flipped to inactive, and can an inactive registrant be made active again? YES

Q11. How many email addr,esses in the voter roll include a com,ma?

A. Way more than there should be. You don't fling around commas willy-nilly and most everyone knows a comma is not a permitted character in an email address. However, if we published the actual quantity, that would open the door for critics to slam this for being focused on something with no value. So sorry, no numbers for you.

Just so we are clear .. email addresses must include only RFC-compliant characters, which everyone knows are these:

Yes yes, everyone also knows-- email addresses are optional. But from a business logic perspective, why would WEC allow them? What's interesting is the public registration website DOES NOT ALLOW a comma. So that would lead one to conclude these pesky commas are being inserted after they are part of the voter roll or being entered via some Stargate back-door data entry interface.

Oh, and by the way -- there are commas in phone numbers too.

Q10. FACT: There are many versions of the WEC voter roll in the public. One group purchased the dataset 28 times leading up to the 2020 election. With all this data out there, why are we not sharing this information?

A. On multiple versions: YES that is fact. There are many versions of this data out in the wild.

Why is the data not shared? That's an essay question we will answer soon. The answer is a mind blowing, so if your mind is easily blown, you best stay away.

Restrictions on what you can do with the list? NONE After you pay $12,500 for the crappy data, you can go nuts with the info contained therein.

Here is WEC's official position on this matter...


Q9. Is the Wisconsin voter roll big data? Do I need special equipment to analyze it?

A. For most people, it YES. It is big data because if you tried to load all 72 counties into Excel, your hardware likely will not complain, but Excel will scream like a horny alley cat at 2am. The entire voter roll is about 7 million records, or in spreadsheet-speak, 7 million rows you will never load in Excel. When you consider the full view, meaning to include the columns of data, that comes to about 840 million points of data.

So why YES for most people? Most have no idea what it means to split a file and likely would have never needed to do so.

On special equipment... YES. The first equipment you will need is a phat brain with an extensive background in data analysis and mathematics. Absent phat brains, it's very unlikely you will know or care about grabbing your own version..

We use the full WEC dataset and smash through that in short order. If we are doing an extract for a county, it takes about 1 minute to generate a fully cleaned subset. When we need distribution plots or group-by summaries, we can cut through all 7 million records in ~10 seconds. To the left is a screen-grab of one of our tools.

When we need to push data into Ghost Finder, we often use a spreadsheet to inspect/clean the data before it's imported into the ghost database.

But getting back to the original question. Is a single WEC set big data to us? NO.

7 million rows is no big deal. However, if we had 10 versions of the same, that would be incredibly useful and would cross over into the true definition of big because one dimensional has just become two.

Who is this we? We are just two expert data guys, one from Mequon, the other from Chicago. We are contributors to, but not a member of that group or any other. We are free agents looking to do the right thing.

Q8. Why are you so critical and negative? Is it because you are angry because Trump didn't win? All of you who are publishing these random numbers here are meaningless. You lost. Why can't you get over it?

A. Good Qs! We are very critical here, but we refer to it as critical thinking. If that was the meaning, then we are guilty as charged.

Negative? We would need a specific example of that. Perhaps you are referring to our disparaging remarks about the WEC data. That's not being negative, that's knowing what crappy data looks like. We are data masters, we know stinky data when we see it.

On Trump-related anger? None here. Zero. While we believe there was some extreme funny-business with the election data, we're not angry about it. That emotion is contrary to good investigative work. We are in fact, happy data scientists who love the invigorating sound numbers crunching.

On You Lost, Get over it... If a person applies for a position and claims to have received really good grades in school, what's wrong with asking to see an official transcript? One would think the applicant would be eager to have someone discover said goodness via independent verification.

Our mission is to seek the truth and to understand how process failures have created the big ugly dataset known as the Wisconsin voter roll.

Q7. What county has the most entries in the voter roll with no registration date?

A. Contrats to Trempealeau (from La montagne qui trempe a l'eau which means the mountain that is steeped in the water) county who takes first place with a devilishly impressive showing with Dane and Outagamie way back in the pack.

Trempealeau County    666
Dane County            93
Outagamie County       42

Q6. Did 1000 voters register in St. Croix county with a birth year of 1918?

A. NO    But before we tee-off on this one, St. Croix had 5,059 dead people on the voter roll last year. Likely inactive, but that does not mean none of them voted. We can't conclude that with only one dataset -- nobody can.

Now, on to the 1918 thing... there were 5,737 were on the voter roll who would have been about 121 years old for the last election. Same as above, likely all inactive, but that doesn't mean...

In conclusion: A county clerk could respond: No issues here. We found nobody born in 1918 on our voter roll. Case closed. ... but there's always some fine print

The registration date (also referred to as Application Date) within the voter roll is when (maybe) they applied to vote, not when they were born.

Let's assume they were 18 years of age when they applied, that means their registration date would have been 1900'sh.

There are, in fact, no regsistrants who applied to vote in 1900 in St. Croix. So the answer of No issues, Case closed is technically correct which would allow them to skirt the issue of the 1918 registration date. (of which there we 5,737 of them)

One last thing: The voter roll for the state DOES have people with an application date of 1900. Are you ever up at 2am watching drug commercials while wondering about the distribution of the state-wide voter roll who are really old?   Wonder No More

Q5. Have dead people ever voted?

A. 100% YES, but to what extent, we have no idea. When data costs $12,500 per set, it very much hampers the ability to draw useful conclusions. Gosh, it's almost like they do this intentionally to avoid that pesky transparency thing.

Another example of monster bad data quality:

Here is the distribution of voter status for registrants who registerd before 1920. When you register, you must be at least 18 years of age. Therefore, a 1918 registrant would have been born sometime around the turn of the century. That would make them about 121 years old today.

These numbers represent the 37 counties that make up ~80% of the vote. This means, as per WEC data, that there were 100,000+ active voters who, if they actually registered on that date, are older than the oldest known living person in the US, who we believe to be Thelma Sutcliffe. Go Thelma!

It's our hope you are outraged and send hate mail, but don't shoot the messager. We always welcome your thoughts and encourge you to share even if that includes inane bitching and moaning about our outrageous WEC-based numbers presented here. CONTACT US

Q4. Does Racine county have 23,000+ duplicate phone numbers? Is this a problem?

A. YES there were 23,262 occurences of a phone number ending in 9050, most connected to Racine county. However it's important to note that 11 other counties are assocated with this number. But the big news is that this number has been around before 2020 and only a small portion of the registrants tied to this number are active.

Is this a problem? YES. Because if this is promoted, it's potentially an unintentional false flag, or worse, an intentional one. It's never useful when people run with numbers they don't understand. How this originated months ago is the work of a potential goofball or worse, because this voter roll tidbit is borderline meaningless.

One last item: This however is an example of crappy data logic. It's assumed that a family might all use the same phone number. But for WEC to allow this many duplicates is another example of data they willingly choose not to validate.

However, phone numbers and email addresses are optional. Therefore, duplicate entries can be dismissed as nobody cares.

Q3. How many registrants, state-wide, have a zip code of 99999? Bonus points: Which county has the most?

A. Last year 2,405 registrants had a 99999 zip code in their mailing address. The good news, that's a very tiny portion of the 7 million on the total roll. More good news, only 15 of those have a voter status=Active. So total inactives with 99999 was 2,390.

On the bonus points, here's the leaderboard: MILWAUEE 551, RACINE 431, KENOSHA 224, MARATHON 193, ROCK 118, DANE 90

One must ponder at least two things:

  1. Why would any important data system permit the insertion of invalid data AND choose to not delete it?
  2. What makes those 15 registrants special by allowing them to be Active with an invalid USPS address?

FYI: There is no 99999 zip code in the US and is considered a dummy code. The most frequent use for this dummy is in fiction/movies, when the author or playwright wants to use a number that cannot be confused with an authentic code. This zip code has long been used when sending letters to Santa.

The Social Security Number 123-45-6789 has exactly the same function. Bottom line: 99999 is real but is considered undeliverable.

Q2. Did anyone register at a polling place AFTER the 2020 election AND show as having cast a ballot? Bonus Points: What was the average date and time they registered at the polling place?

Update 8:35 AM 11/9/2021 - As per the WEC database person, times are GMT.
We have been informed that timestamps (date/time) in the WEC voter roll uses Greenwich Mean Time, a.k.a., GMT. We had to confirm this because WEC does not share much publicly that explains the data they sell for $12,500 other than this milk-toasty Q&A page.

Here is the data definition WEC provides. You will note the application date type is wrong. So like the data itself, this document contains a boo-boo. It says that Char(10) is the field space for ApplicationDate, meaning the date/time field can only hold 10 characters. How many chars are in 10/21/2020 05:00:00? More than 10.

GMT Defined: This is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, counted from midnight. At different times in the past, it has been calculated in different ways, including being calculated from noon; as a consequence, it cannot be used to specify a particular time unless a context is given.

From a database perspective, it's assumed with a timestamp, absent a zone reference, it reflects the local time. If you ask Goog what time it is, it will provide the answer with the zone reference. e.g. Saturday, November 6, 2021 (CDT) or a few days later it would be (CST).

When we looked at timestamps in WEC data, we assumed it was local time relative to transaction that only happen in Wisconsin. Reason for this assumption: There is only one timezone for Wisconsin (well, technically two but only one at a time)

This could be explained that these "late" registrants were in-line when the clock struck 8pm. As per law, anyone who is in line when the polls close, still get to cast a ballot.

Wait. We're not done yet. Let's toss aside the GMT stuff for now. Here's another question the data begs someone to ask. Here's a snip (click left image to zoom) of some Racine registrants who walked into a polling place in August -- to register. What polling places are open months before an election? When voters walk-in to register months early, this is what the data should look like. (source: Langlade)

However, we can't prove we are correct but nobody can prove us wrong. The WEC dataset does not provide information that could have easily documented this.

If you have info or a comment on this CONTACT US

A. This was a good one. The answer is YES. This was and is a brain twister. How could someone register on the 4th but have voted the day before? If anyone knows the answer, please share. Our guess, it would be explained as a one-time glitch.

Click the image to the left to zoom. Let us point out some irregularities that should cause you to squint and scratch yo' head.

The election process: Register, then vote. In this case, it was vote, then register.

Notice the registration timestamp: They arrived in the wee hours of November 4th. Yet all 21 samples were able to vote the day before. How does that work?

Next, notice these registrations happened AT the polling place. This is called EDR or election day registration. Wisconsin is one of six states that are exempt from NVRA a.k.a., National Voter Registration Act.

Riddle me this batman: What polling locations open at 3am?

Bonus points: First some date string math: What is the average of Monday + Friday? If we convert days to numbers, where Monday=1 and Friday=5, the answer is 6/2 or 3 = Wednesday. To determine the average time these 21 registered to vote, we convert the date to something we can average e.g., So 11/04/2020 12:11:58 becomes 1635943631 which is the number of seconds that have elapsed since 1/1/1970. Converting a date/time to a timestamp is easy. TRY IT
The bonus question answer: 1:37AM (In the entire state, ~4000 people were registered on the 4th at a polling location, all between MIDNIGHT and 5AM)

To learn more take a peek under the hood to see when these odd registrations occurred.

Q1. What is the first name of the oldest person in the voter roll who is not yet born and is marked as deceased?

A. This was a trick question. Just because we said it was not a trick question dosen't mean it wasn't. That's how trick questions work. We can't determine age from the voter roll because that info is not provided. The big clue was not yet born.

The correct answer is Ruth, who as per the WEC voter roll , will register to vote in about 1800 years, but who is currently in the voter roll as deceased.

Ruth has the distinction of being the only person in the official voter roll who registered in the year 3806. If anyone knows her, please let us know so we can send her an award, posthumously.

FINE PRINT: Our numbers are derived from the Noverber 2020 WEC dataset. We acknowledge they are allowed 45 days to post final numbers. For this reason, we will never use this dataset to draw conclusions about the 2020 general election. The intent of everything you see here is our attempt to shake the trees and rattle the bushes to create thought exercises. It is to open minds so we can ask good questions to understand and challenge the horrible mess of our voter roll. Are these numbers correct? YES! But do they mean anything? You decide.