Citizen Action for Election Integrity

Our voting rights don’t end when the polls close. We have a right to cast a vote, but we also have a right to know our votes were counted accurately.

When someone interferes with our ability to cast our votes, we cannot help but notice. It’s obvious when voters are denied registration or struck from the registration rolls for no reason…when voting is made inconvenient or expensive by difficult ID requirements…when districts are gerrymandered so that our votes hardly matter.  The Wisconsin Election Integrity Action Team supports the work of Common Cause, the League of Women VotersDisability Rights Wisconsin, and the American Civil Liberties Union among other groups in their work on these obvious threats.

Interference with counting our votes would be less obvious. Computerized vote-counting created new risks of accidental miscounts and new opportunities for election theft–and moved it all out of our sight. 

Voting machines are computers that are manufactured, programmed, and operated by fallible, sometimes dishonest humans. They are set up and operated by well-meaning but lightly trained temporary workers under minimal oversight. The voting machines operate with code that is written in proprietary secrecy by private voting-machine companies or by whomever hacked them.

Even the best local security cannot prevent all miscounts, both deliberate and inadvertent.

Despite these risks, Wisconsin’s elections officials do not routinely check the accuracy of Election-Day output. This is contrary to the recommendations of every national elections-administration expert. Even the most trustworthy of our county clerks could be certifying miscounted election results without even noticing. 

Most voters and candidates are unaware that computer-calculated election results are not checked for accuracy, but it’s a safe bet that would-be election thieves know.

We do not tolerate refusal to audit in any other business or government function. If votes were dollars, can you imagine a situation in which candidates would not demand transparent, routine audits of election results?

None of us would use an ATM operated by a bank that refused to check whether the computer credited our deposits to the right accounts, or demanded that we pay for the audit.

Can you imagine a bank finding thousands of errors and the Wisconsin State Journal reporting “No major flaws, mostly just human error“, like it did when thousands of votes were miscounted?

We would fire an municipal treasurer who mailed out unaudited property tax bills, and then refused to verify their accuracy. But if you live in Wisconsin, your county clerk has never audited a single election’s results before declaring them final, unless forced to verify in a recount. 

A board of directors of a retail chain would fire an executive who refused routinely to audit the stores’ books until provided with evidence that an embezzler was already at work.

Yet our election officials refuse to concede that checking accuracy should be considered a routine, responsible part of their job–BEFORE they declare anyone the winner of any election.  

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