August 28, 2014

Group doing own recall recount

A handful of volunteers spent hours Tuesday secluded in a small room near the Rock County clerk’s office, going through ballots from the June 5th gubernatorial recall election one by one. They were not looking for voter fraud though. Attorney James Mueller with the group Election Fairness says their concern is possible tampering with voting machines.

Mueller and his group have frequently questioned the Government Accountability Board about the security of the machines and have made numerous requests to make sure election results are accurate and transparent. Mueller says they are worried that someone could manipulate the machines to generate the election results that they want, regardless of what people marked on their ballots.

Electronic voting machines have become the standard in Wisconsin, but Mueller says the reports given out by them are almost never audited unless an election is contested and a recount is performed.

With millions of dollars spent on elections, Mueller says someone could be more than willing to take the risk of “manipulating machines to come up with the outcome that they want.”

The group has sent open records requests to all 72 counties in the state. Several clerks have raised concerns about that process to the Government Accountability Board. While the GAB recently sent out a pair of memos to local election officials offering some guidance on the process, the agency noted that they are unable to provide legal advice because the recounts are based on open records requests.

The GAB is urging clerks to make sure the chain of custody on ballots is preserved and direct any questions to their corporation counsel or the Department of Justice regarding costs charged for access to records.

Mueller says they will be reporting their findings and hope that any discrepancies they find will attract other groups to review the results.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:03)

Contributed by Stan Stricker, WCLO