Area voting machines will be audited

November 13, 2018

The Wisconsin Elections Commission ordered an audit of random voting machines across the state including a handful in Dodge and Jefferson counties.

The hand counts of paper ballots are to verify Election Day accuracy of 5 percent of the state’s voting machines. This is the first year the voting machine audits might provide real security for Wisconsin’s election results because in previous years, WEC ordered many fewer audits and allowed them to be completed after election results had already been certified.

According to Jefferson County Chief Deputy County Clerk Audrey McGraw, she and Jefferson County Clerk Barb Frank have already done a pre-canvass examination of election procedures and results from around the county. She said they do this to compare these results with those obtained on election night. They performed this on Thursday and Friday. A formal canvass will be conducted in Jefferson County Tuesday.

“So we already did our own version of a canvass and no red flags showed up,” McGraw said.

According to McGraw, however, the town of Jefferson has been selected at random by the state elections commission, along with other municipalities, to face a post-election audit.

“They will just be making sure everything is kosher there,” McGraw said.

Dodge County Clerk Karen Gibson said the state randomly draws the areas where the audit should be conducted.

“This is something we have done in the past,” Gibson said.

This year, she said, the cities of Fox Lake and Waupun and one polling place in Beaver Dam were selected for the audit.

Gibson said while the Dodge County canvass will take place today, the audit of the specific areas will take place on Wednesday. She said the races that will be examined include the governor, congressional representative, the Assembly and Senate districts. She said if there was no Senate race in one of the communities chosen for an audit the sheriff’s election will instead be audited.

Wisconsin Election Integrity Coordinator Karen McKim said there cannot be secure elections without transparency.

“As these audits are designed, they won’t actually confirm the correct winners. Believe it or not, the auditors are going to try to read the votes the same way the voting machines do, even if that means ignoring voter intent,” McKim said. “Even with their limitations, these audits give Wisconsin officials their first opportunity ever to detect any miscounts or hacks in time to fix them. These hand counts move Wisconsin’s election security up out of the bottom half of all the states.”

Update hourly