Wisconsin audit finds 2020 election was secure
A nonpartisan audit of the results of the 2020 presidential race in Wisconsin found that the state’s voting machines correctly tabulated the votes cast in the crucial swing state, marking another dismissal of claims by former President Trump and his allies of widespread irregularities.
The report released by the Legislative Audit Bureau did not find any important errors made by the machines. And while a slate of recommendations were made by the elections panel, lawmakers involved in the process said the review underscored the security of the November race.
“Despite concerns with statewide elections procedures, this audit showed us that the election was largely safe and secure,” tweeted Republican state Sen. Robert Cowles, the co-chair of the legislature’s Audit Committee, which ordered the bureau to run the evaluation. “It’s my hope that we can now look at election law changes & agency accountability measures in a bipartisan manner based on these nonpartisan recommendations.”
However, despite concerns with statewide elections procedures, this audit showed us that the election was largely safe and secure. As Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Cmte, I’ll be diving into this report in further detail in the coming weeks as we prepare for a hearing.
— Rob Cowles (@SenRobCowles) October 22, 2021
In total, auditors reviewed 60 tests of voting machines, with 59 tests proving accurate counts and the last producing insufficient data.
State law also mandates that clerks test voting machines 10 days before an election. Of the 175 tests the auditors reviewed, roughly half were done within that window.
The review also determined that only 24 people may have two active voter registrations and that just four possibly voted twice, rebutting a common conspiracy theory of thousands of voters casting multiple ballots.
While lawmakers said they will review the recommendations and make any changes they need to the electoral system, the review’s findings fail to back up Trump’s claims that fraud cost him Wisconsin, which President Biden won by more than 20,000 votes.
Among the recommendations included in the report are suggestions that lawmakers issue formal rules on the ability of election clerks to fill in missing information on absentee ballots and the use of drop boxes.
However, those rules would need to be approved by the legislature, setting up a possible fight between Democrats and Republicans, particularly over drop boxes, which GOP lawmakers in various states have sought to curtail.
“Many of the findings show that [Wisconsin Elections Commission] and its staff are not complying with state statute on several fronts, from clerk training to verification of voters and voter registration. I plan to work closely with my legislative colleagues to address the recommendations in this audit, and I expect to have a hearing on this audit soon,” Cowles said in a press release.
The report also noted that officials in Milwaukee County and Madison did not hand over ballots on guidance from the Justice Department over the need to protect election records.
The Legislative Audit Bureau’s findings come as a more partisan review, ordered by state House Speaker Robin Vos (R) and conducted by conservative former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, continues. Gableman raised eyebrows last year when he said without evidence that he believes the election was stolen from Trump.
That review is the subject of a court battle after Democratic Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul asked a court to block a subpoena from Gableman seeking documents from Meagan Wolfe, the administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commissions.