Wisconsin Election Integrity

For information about the Strategy for 2018 Election Security, click here.

For the final report on the audit that proved Racine's county canvass twice certified inaccurate results in both the 2016 presidential election and the recount--click here.

Let's be realistic: Humans sometimes make mistakes.
Machines sometimes malfunction. Hackers exist.
Our language has the word "glitch" because that's a thing.

We know that. Our election officials know that. Those facts of life are not scandalous or surprising.

What is scandalous is that, knowing that electronic miscounts are inevitable, Wisconsin's election officials declare election results final before checking that they are accurate.

The same county clerks who wouldn't dream of preparing the deposit for the marriage-license receipts without reconciling the cash register routinely declare election results final without 'reconciling' the voting machines--that is, using our paper ballots to checking the computer-tabulated vote totals.

That should be unthinkable, intolerable. But it is standard practice in Wisconsin elections.

Verified accurate results after every election are completely within our reach--even without any changes in state law or new technology. Here are the simple facts:

  1. Wisconsin's municipal clerks have a week following each election during which they could be checking accuracy and correcting errors. County clerks have up to two weeks and can ask for an extension if they are checking out problems. Even if the machines were hacked, local election officials could still ensure accurate results by detecting and correcting any miscounts.

  2. Wisconsin has already experienced several known significant electronic miscounts--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 results for accuracy. 

  3. Once declared final, Wisconsin law contains no provision for changing election results, so any errors or miscounts found after certification cannot be corrected. Accuracy must be checked during the canvass, or our elections will not be secure against error and fraud.

  4. 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.

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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