Lincoln County completes post-election audit
CHRISTOPHER J. MARLOWE
LINCOLN COUNTY CLERK
Residents in Lincoln County can be confident that votes were counted accurately in the Nov. 2022 election following the completion of a post-election audit of voting equipment used in County elections on Nov. 8, 2022.
During the week of November 28, election workers completed their audits of their voting equipment in four reporting units (typically a ward or wards that report out election results) in the Cities of Tomahawk and Merrill and the Towns of Skanawan and Pine River. These municipalities were randomly selected for the audits by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) during an event open to the public. The audits provide an additional way to ensure that voting machines worked properly, and that the election was conducted accurately.
Wisconsin 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 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.
Audit materials are submitted to the WEC for review. The WEC analyzes the audit results and investigates any discrepancies and can request a voting machine vendor investigate and provide explanation for any unexplained discrepancies. Once this work is complete, WEC staff will prepare a public report for review by the six Commissioners during the Feb. 2, 2022, Commission meeting.
Post-election audits, conducted in a record 10% of reporting units across Wisconsin for the November 2022 election, serve as a triple check on the election results. 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.
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.
More information about the 2022 post-election audit can be found here: https://elections.wi.gov/2022-voting-equipment-audit
More information about audits generally can be found here: https://elections.wi.gov/elections/voting-equipment-wisconsin/voting-equipment-security