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 for professional-quality IT management to elections that you apply to any other local government function. Don’t accept from an elections official any claims about election security that you wouldn’t accept from any other public officials. If you would fact-check a city treasurer who claimed that he doesn’t need to audit because he never before found an error; that his computer is unhackable or is never connected to the internet; or that property-tax bills can be trusted without verification because a federal agency once certified the software–fact-check any elections official who tells you the same things. 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.

When reporting on “election security”, you must maintain 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.

February 25, 2020 press advisory about WEC’s failure to include critical voting-machine security safeguards in their election-security plan.