• Tue. Sep 20th, 2022

Wisconsin Elections Commission Implements More Recommendations After Election Audit | local government

ByChad J. Johnson

Apr 1, 2022

The state’s bipartisan Elections Commission said it has implemented many of the election administration’s recommendations from last year’s nonpartisan audit of the state’s 2020 vote.

The latest updates come months after the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Office released a report in October that detailed ways to improve elections but provided no evidence of widespread fraud.

Despite this, many state Republicans have continued to scrutinize Wisconsin’s presidential election — fueled in part by the ongoing review led by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who has made baseless fraud allegations, as well as similar comments by former President Donald Trump. .

Recounts and court rulings claimed President Joe Biden beat Trump in the battleground state by nearly 21,000 votes.

“The six-member, bipartisan Commission has met to consider and implement recommendations that will further improve the electoral process in our state,” the agency’s nonpartisan administrator, Meagan Wolfe, said in a statement.

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New practices implemented by the Wisconsin Elections Commission include:

  • Additional nightly checks for potential duplicate driver’s license and state ID numbers in Wisconsin’s voter registration database;
  • Increased training for poll clerks and contacting vendors of voting machines to alert them to the importance of training in resolving paper jams;
  • Contacted municipal authorities in communities where the clerk did not attend and reported the training required for the 2020-2021 period.

The commission also found that, through a data-sharing agreement with the state Department of Transportation, it fully complies with the legal requirement to obtain signatures from registered voters. Another change includes releasing a timeline showing when the agency obtains voter information from the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC.

The commission has also begun the process of enacting rules for nearly all of the business rule changes proposed by the Audit Office, including directing staff to create scope statements for rules on missing witness information that may be corrected by a clerk. The scoping statement was approved by Governor Tony Evers and is being drafted, according to the statement.

Guidelines the commission first issued in 2016 allowing clerks to correct errors in witness addresses on mail-in ballot envelopes have become one of the biggest Republican targets. Last month, the committee deadlocked over whether clerks should be allowed to continue filling in missing information, leaving clerks without formal guidance on the matter.

Last year, the Audit Office reviewed 14,710 mail-in voting certificates in 29 municipalities and found that 1,022 certificates (6.9%) were missing portions of witness addresses, 15 (0.1% ) had no witness address, eight (less than 0.1%) had no witness signature, and three (less than 0.1%) had no voter signature.

The commission also directed staff to create a scope statement for rules relating to polling site emergency planning and the certification and training of municipal clerks. The proposal has also been approved by Evers and formal drafting of a rule can begin soon.

Another point before the committee that has become bogged down in legal battles concerns the use of postal ballot boxes.


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State laws do not address the use of stand-alone mailboxes, prompting allegations from Republicans that their use is illegal. Proponents of the boxes say local election officials should be able to offer them.

At this point, mail-in ballot boxes are not permitted for Tuesday’s election, and a person cannot deliver someone else’s mail-in ballot, with some exceptions. The state Supreme Court is expected to eventually determine whether to prohibit mail-in ballot boxes and the collection and submission of other people’s mail-in ballots by a third party.

“The WEC is also willing to work with the Legislature on new legislation that would regulate the use of drop boxes in Wisconsin elections,” commission members wrote in a letter to the Audit Committee Thursday. joint legislative. “Given the ongoing litigation over this specific recommendation, the Commission may wish to wait for these cases to be resolved through the courts.”


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