For the final report on the audit that proved Racine's county canvass certified inaccurate election results in both the 2016 presidential election and the recount--click here.
Let's be realistic.
Humans sometimes make mistakes.
Machines sometimes malfunction.
We know that. Our election officials know that. It's not scandalous or surprising.
What is scandalous is that, knowing that occasional electronic miscounts are inevitable, Wisconsin's election officials declare election results final before checking that they are accurate.
The same county clerks who daily double-check the receipts for the day's marriage-license fees routinely declare election results 'correct and true' without checking the accuracy of the computer-tabulated vote totals.
That should be unthinkable, intolerable. But it is standard practice in Wisconsin elections.
Here are the simple facts:
- Election results are not binding until they are certified. Wisconsin's municipal clerks have about a week following each election during which they could be checking accuracy and correcting errors. County clerks have about three weeks. Even if the machines were hacked, local election officials could still ensure accurate results by checking accuracy and correcting any miscounts they find.
- Wisconsin has already experienced several known significant electronic miscounts--Medford in 2004, Stoughton in 2014, and the City of Marinette in 2016. Other miscounts have almost certainly escaped detection, because Wisconsin officials so rarely check results for accuracy.
- Once declared final, Wisconsin statutes contain no provision for correcting errors, so any errors or miscounts found after certification cannot be corrected. Any audits--by officials or citizens--that are done after certification are merely decorative. Accuracy must be checked during the canvass, or our elections will not be secure against error and fraud.
- Full recounts are not necessary. 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.
Verified accurate results after every election are completely within our reach--even without any new state law or new technology.
Wisconsin voters deserve need routine, transparent verification during the canvass after every election.
You can join the ongoing fight to make sure our voting rights don't end when the polls close.
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In particular, check out these five ways any Wisconsin voter can encourage and help your local municipal clerk and county clerk fulfill current responsibilities. We don't need any new laws or procedures to make some improvements. 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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