For more information, contact or call WEI Coordinator Karen McKim at 608-212-5079.

First of all, thank you for covering election security.

Election-integrity advocates hope that you will:

1) Apply the same expectations of professional-quality IT management to elections that you apply to any other local government function. Don’t let an elections official defend his or her voting-machine security with arguments (e.g., “I trust the voting machines because we didn’t see any problems in the 2016 recount.”) that you wouldn’t accept from a city treasurer (e.g., “The property tax bills were all fine in 2016, so I don’t need to check accuracy for the 2019 calculations.”) Counting votes should be handled with the same level of care and professionalism as counting parking meter revenue or tax receipts.  

2) Understand that the information-technology story cannot be obtained wholly from election officials. County and municipal clerks have many skills and talents, but IT expertise is rarely among them. Chances are, anything the clerks tell you about the security of the tabulation system is simply a reiteration of what the vendor has told them. Check the facts by contacting an IT expert with specific knowledge of voting systems.

One critical fact:
TWO (2) separate systems must be secured.

You cannot write accurately about “election security” without maintaining clarity regarding which of the two systems you’re talking about. Nothing you learn about the voter-registration system will apply to the vote-tabulation system, and vice-versa.

WisVote is the voter-registration system. It handles voter registration, poll books, and a few other election-administration tasks. That system is wholly owned and operated by the State of Wisconsin; municipal clerks input and use data from the system. WisVote does not count our votes.

Our votes are counted by a collection of other computers–it’s a stretch to call it a “system.” Ownership, maintenance, and operation of tabulation equipment are distributed among commercial voting-machine companies, counties, and municipalities.

The following table describes some of the many differences.

Sept 16, 2019 press advisory about story about lapses in Wisconsin voting-machine security.