At the Capitol Thursday, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted to proceed with an audit of the state’s election practices. Representative Samantha Kerkman (R – Salem), the panel’s co-chair, said constituents want reassurance that elections are conducted fairly.
“From my district down in western Kenosha County, to Rhinelander to Superior to Green Bay to Dane County, they want to make sure that across the state our elections are interpreted in a uniform way. That everybody has the same process.”
State Senator Melissa Agard (D – Madison) serves on the panel, which held an lengthy hearing on the matter. She noted conspiracy theories and misinformation have abounded about the results of the November election in Wisconsin. “My fear is, and I hope it’s just a fear, that this audit will provide a vehicle for more distrust and more disinformation,” Agard said.
Representative John Macco (R – Ledgeview), said he was “incensed” by Agard’s comments. “It’s absurd to me, that my colleague would take that tone and tenor, and make those blanket assumptions,” Macco said.
The committee voted along party lines to approve the audit. The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau will review things like whether the Wisconsin Elections Commission and municipal clerks follow all election laws, how they use electronic voting machines and how they handle complaints they receive.
Members of both parties expressed confidence in State Auditor Joe Chrisman. The process is expected to take months.