March 17, 2017
Following the November 2016 General Election, Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein requested a recount in Wisconsin, for reasons laid out in the following report. The 2016 election in Wisconsin was remarkable for a number of reasons: the lowest voter turnout in decades, draconian new voter ID laws, and unusual and unexpected results in the Presidential contest, to name a few.
Because the recount did not change the winner of Wisconsin’s electoral vote, state officials maintain that the election processes were satisfactory. Nothing could be further from the truth. The following report documents the many inadequacies and oversights generally accepted as routine by our election administrators.
Why recount Wisconsin’s presidential election?
Wisconsin voters and election officials are justifiably proud of many features of their election system. Among Wisconsin’s strengths: Voter registration and turnout is traditionally high. The municipal clerks who handle most elections-administration responsibilities are not elected as representatives of any political party, but are either appointed or elected in nonpartisan elections. The large majority of voters use paper ballots and their votes are counted by what are known as ‘opscan’ voting machines.
But there are weaknesses in the election system. Wisconsin lags many other states in verifying the accuracy of election results. While Wisconsin localities count their votes with commercial, vote-tabulating computers, they certify election results as final without verifying the results’ accuracy. Many other states require checking the output of at least a few machines before results are certified, that is, declared final.