You can help to secure Wisconsin's November 2018 elections!
In three quick steps, you can move Wisconsin toward true election security.
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Election clerks and voting-machine programmers are human, and humans sometimes make mistakes.
Machines sometimes malfunction.
Hackers exist--and not just in Russia.
Our language has the word "glitch" because that's a thing.
Those facts are not scandalous. They are simple facts of life that mean we need professional-quality, prudent management of our vote-counting computers.
This is the scandalous fact: After every election, Wisconsin's election officials carelessly assume--without checking--that no glitches, errors, or hacks happened. They have such naive trust in their vote-counting computers that they don't bother to check the Election-Night output from the voting machines before they declare it to be our final, official election results.
Go ahead: Call your county clerk right now and confirm that. Ask what he or she does, before declaring the results final, to check whether the voting machines counted the votes (not the ballots; the votes) accurately on Election Day. The answer will be "Nothing. We trust the voting machines."
That should be unthinkable, intolerable. County clerks who would not dream of depositing the marriage-license receipts without reconciling the register tape and the cash routinely declare winners without reconciling the voting machines' verdict and our paper ballots. When no one uses the paper ballots, Wisconsin is no better off than the states that don't use paper ballots at all.
Yet verified accurate results are completely within our reach--even without any changes in state law or new technology. The simple facts:
- State law gives our local clerks time to review the preliminary Election-Night results before they declare them final, or 'certify' them. Even if the machines were hacked, local election officials could secure election results by detecting and correcting any miscounts.
- Election-Day miscounts are not a risk; they are a reality. Medford in 2004, Stoughton in 2014, and the City of Marinette and Racine County in 2016. Other miscounts have almost certainly escaped detection, because Wisconsin officials so rarely check for accuracy.
- Once declared final, Wisconsin law contains no provision for changing election results. Any errors or miscounts found after certification cannot be corrected. If our election officials don't check accuracy during the canvass, our elections will not be secure against error and fraud.
- Full recounts are not necessary. Checking even only a few random machines in each county would provide a deterrence that doesn't now exist. National election authorities have developed economical, practical, speedy methods for verifying preliminary election results. Other states are moving ahead to implement these methods. Any Wisconsin county clerk could do the same under current Wisconsin law.
Election security is not complete without routine, transparent verification during the canvass after every election.
Our voting rights don't end when the polls close. Our right to cast a vote means nothing if our right to have that vote counted is ignored.
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In particular, check out these five ways any Wisconsin voter can promote secure elections. The first thing we need is for people of good will and civic dedication to get involved with local election administration to make sure current standards and requirements are being met.
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