Election equipment used in four Lincoln County municipalities on Nov. 8 functioned properly, audit finds
For the Tomahawk Leader
LINCOLN COUNTY – An audit of voting equipment used in four Lincoln County municipalities in the Nov. 8, 2022 election found that all equipment functioned properly, according to the Lincoln County Clerk’s Office.
A Friday, Dec. 9 release from the Clerk’s Office said voting equipment used in the Cities of Tomahawk and Merrill and the Towns of Pine River and Skanawan were randomly selected for audit by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). The audits took place during the week of Nov. 28 in events that were open to the public.
The Clerk’s Office said the audits “provide an additional way to ensure that voting machines worked properly and that the election was conducted accurately,” noting that Lincoln County residents “can be confident that votes were counted accurately in the Nov. 2022 election.”
State statutes require a post-election audit of voting systems used in Wisconsin after each General Election. During the post-election audit, election officials check to make sure the vote totals compiled by the voting equipment on Election Night are accurate.
“During this process, elections workers conduct an independent hand count of paper ballots and tally the results of the selected contests,” the Clerk’s Office said. “The final hand-count tally was (totaled) and compared to the election night voting system results. In all four reporting units, the hand-count tallies mirrored those of the originally reported election night results.”
The Clerk’s Office explained that audit materials are submitted to the WEC for review. The WEC then analyzes the audit results and investigates any discrepancies and can request a voting machine vendor investigate and provide explanation for any unexplained discrepancies.
After this process is complete, WEC staff will prepare a public report for review by the six Commissioners during the Feb. 2, 2023 Commission meeting.
“Post-election audits, conducted in a record 10% of reporting units across Wisconsin for the Nov. 2022 election, serve as a triple check on the election results,” the Clerk’s Office stated. “While not every reporting unit or municipality is selected for post-election audit, state election officials ensured that the 2022 sample of 358 reporting units includes at least one reporting unit per county, and at least five reporting units for each type of equipment used.”
The Clerk’s Office noted that discrepancies in the vote totals are “infrequently reported, and if they are, they are typically due to human error, which election officials then work to prevent by developing new training protocols.”
In a separate pre-election voting equipment audit that occurs before every election and in every municipality, voting machine programming is verified by feeding a set of pre-marked ballots into each machine and reviewing the results tape that is generated. An errorless count is required at the conclusion of the testing.
“Additionally, election officials at the county and state level review state election results for any discrepancies before they are certified by the chair of the WEC,” the Clerk’s Office stated.
More information about the 2022 post-election audit can be found at www.elections.wi.gov/2022-voting-equipment-audit.
General information about audits is available at www.bit.ly/3WhPdBE.