This information was updated in March 2017.
- Voting News
This information was updated in March 2017.
Passed in 2006, Wisconsin's audit legislation is not binding upon election results and cannot be expanded to a full recount. The statute governing audits is Wis. Stat. Ann. Â§7.08(6). Rules for Wisconsin's audit procedures can be found in the Government Accountability Board's 2014 Voting System Audit Requirements (VSAR). In 2015, Wisconsin Act 118 eliminated the Government Accountability Board and replaced it with the Wisconsin Elections Commission, effective July 1, 2016. The Commission's functions include administering the audit provisions of Wis. Stat. Ann. Â§7.08(6).
The audit is open to the public. See VSAR, page 2 "Pre-Audit Preparations." The time and location for the audit is posted at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled audit. See VSAR, page 2, "General Procedures."
All jurisdictions in Wisconsin use optical scanners of hand counts as the primary voting system. Some jurisdictions provide DREs with VVPAT forn accessibility and other use ballot marking devices. For details visit the Wisconsin page on The Verifier.
The purpose of the audit is to determine "If the [voting system] error rate exceeds the rate permitted under standards of the federal election commission in effect on October 29, 2002," in which case "the board shall take remedial action and order remedial action to be taken by affected counties and municipalities to ensure compliance with the standards." See Wis. Stat. Ann. Â§7.08(6). Â In determining the voting system error rate, votes are counted as the voting equipment would have counted them. Â "Voter intent is not a factor." See VSAR page 3, "General Procedures," item 6.
If there are discrepancies found in the initial audit, the same ballots are counted again, and the discrepancy reported. The audit is not expanded. See VSAR, page 4 "Recommended Audit Procedures". In the event that a discrepancy between the machine tally and the paper record tally cannot be reasonably explained, the [Election Commission] staff must request that the voting equipment manufacturer investigate and explain the reasons for any differences between the machine tally and the paper record tally. The State is then required to suspend approval of any equipment from such vendors as cannot provide adequate explanations for the discrepancies. See VSAR, page 5, "Post-Audit Procedures."
"For good cause, the [Election Commission] staff may identify other reporting units to be audited." See VSAR, page 2, "Reporting Unit Selection".
No mention is made of early, absentee, or provisional ballots in the statute governing audits or in the audit procedures outlined by the Election Commission. Wis. Stat. Ann. Â§7.08(6) requires only that electronic voting systems in each reporting unit be audited.
Only general elections are audited. See Wis. Stat. Ann. Â§7.08(6). "Four (4) contests shall be audited, including the top contest on the ballot (either gubernatorial orÂ presidential). The other audited contests shall be selected randomly by the Election Commission staff from the other state contests that appear on the ballot." See VSAR, page 3, "General Procedures," item 2.
Wisconsin audits reporting units, which can be a ward, a combination of wards or other districts by which votes are tallied. See VSAR, page 1, Definitions". "The Election Commission staff will randomly select one hundred (100) reporting units acrossÂ Wisconsin which will be subject to municipal audit, including a minimum of five (5) reporting units for eachÂ voting system used in Wisconsin." See VSAR, page 2, "Reporting Unit Selection".
See VSAR, page 3, "General Procedures," item 4Â .
Oversight and Conduct of Audit: The audit is overseen by the [Election Commission]. Â The [Commission] staff conducts the random selection. See VSAR, pages 1-2. The auditing is conducted by municipal election officials; however, upon agreement of the municipality and county, the county clerk or county board of canvassers may perform the audit in lieu of the municipality. See VSAR, page 3.
Timeline for Audit: "The time and location of the audit must be posted at least 48 hours prior to the audit. Audits may commence as soon as notification is provided by the G.A.B." Â The audit must be conducted, however, no later than two (2) weeks after the G.A.B. certifies the election results." See VSAR, page 2,"Pre-Audit Preparations".