October 31, 2014

Wisconsin elections among the best

Wisconsin ranks among the top five states in elections preparedness and technology.

A new report reviews how prepared each state is for dealing with anything that might go wrong — making sure every eligible voter can vote, and each vote is counted.

Reid Magney with the GAB says with a few exceptions, Wisconsin relies on either the optical scan ballot machines or the touch screen machines. “The report sort of works on the premise that since it’s technology, technology is prone to fail. And so the question is, going into November, ‘which states are best prepared to deal with any possible problems with that technology?’ And Wisconsin was one of the top five states.”

Helping Wisconsin get into the top five are its paper back-ups. Magney says, “There’s something known as a voter verified paper trail. After you cast your vote, it prints out what those votes are so in case there was any failure you would still have that paper back-up.”

A number of states don’t have voting equipment that allows for a paper trail. Wisconsin officials had insisted on the back-up so there would be no question about any nefarious activity.

The study also looked at audits to make sure the machines are reporting the accurate totals. Reid says his agency and elections officials are very happy to be in the top five, but some of the voting equipment dates back to the ’90s, so that could be updated. Also, post-election audits could be slightly improved.

The study, Counting Votes 2012: A State by State Look at Voting Technology Preparedness, was conducted by three agencies: Common Cause Educational Fund, Verified Voting Foundation, and Rutgers Law School.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:39