With state Senate recall elections a week away, concerns over vote integrity are being raised. Attorney Jim Miller is with the group Wisconsin Citizens for Election Protection, formed after the state Supreme Court recount. He brought an exhibit for the Government Accountability Board on Tuesday — the Brookfield seal. “The Brookfield seal is one clasp in the middle of the bag,” he explained, as he displayed how easy it was to remove ballots from a bag. “As you can see, there are ballots sticking out. They’re completely removable.” Miller said his group has been very active. They asked clerks in the upcoming state Senate recall elections to count ballots by hand. “If they’re not going to hand count, we’ve asked them to allow us to observe the process.”
But Mike Haas, staff counsel for the GAB, said Miller’s group may have taken their concerns too far. “The organization that attorney Miller represents sent out a communication to clerks on Friday, requesting that they post something at the polling place, which would essentially indicate that polling place is more secure, because that polling place is going to hand count ballots.” Haas said that would have caused “serious confusion” at polling places — and that GAB staff followed up with clerks asking them not to follow the request.
“The request for hand counts of ballots are affected by statute,” explained Haas. “There’s a statute saying that municipalities over 7500 in population are required to tabulate ballots by electronic equipment unless they seek and obtain approval from the board. So it’s not as if we can, even if we wanted to, willy-nilly tell everyone to go ahead and hand count your ballots.”