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Audit finds Wisconsin voting machines worked accurately in 2022 general election

Republican and Democratic appointees of the Wisconsin Elections Commission praise the results of the audit

A man puts a ballot into a counting machine as other voters line up behind him.
Julian Lutz submits his ballot Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the New Glarus Village Hall in New Glarus, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

A unanimous Wisconsin Elections Commission signed off on the results of an audit that found the state’s voting machines counted ballots accurately in November’s election.

Clerks hand-counted more than 220,000 ballots as part of the audit, which happens after every general election.

While the process is routine, voting machines are just one of the many elements of the democratic process that have come under scrutiny following the 2020 election, when former Republican President Donald Trump lost Wisconsin by fewer than 21,000 votes and falsely claimed he won.

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Republican and Democratic members of the WEC said the audit should give confidence to voters going forward.

“I think the results of this audit are remarkable,” said Republican commission member Bob Spindell. “And should give confidence to the people Wisconsin that these machines work properly.”

The audit found a total of six instances where ballots were improperly recorded, but it attributed the mistakes to human error, not to voting machines.

Those included instances where crease lines, a stray mark and a tear were read by machines as overvotes in races. That meant the ballots were not counted in those contests. In another instance, a voter filled out their ballot with green ink, which machines don’t read.

Poll workers should have caught the mistakes, according to the commission.

“It’s crystal clear that the machines are functioning the way we want them to function and are accurate,” said Ann Jacobs, a Democratic commissioner.

Commissioners supported a motion that declared “effective error rate” of the 2022 General Election Post-Election audit as 0 percent.

According to Wisconsin Elections Commission staff, this was the largest audit of its kind in Wisconsin.