Elections Chief Says Wisconsin Is Prepared For Tuesday’s Vote

Elections Commission Head Outlines Preparations For Potential Voting Issues, Including Security

"Vote here" sign
David Zalubowski/AP Photo

Wisconsin’s top election official has said the state has the resources it needs to respond to any potential issues during Tuesday’s election.

Meagan Wolfe, administrator for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said Friday state elections officials have been coordinating election plans with other state agencies, the federal government and county and local officials.

That included what she called a “tabletop” security exercise Monday, led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which she said led to several improvements to the state’s election plans.

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“One of those included providing a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week hotline for municipal and local election officials to be able to report any kind of election security event to us,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe spoke on a conference call with reporters shortly after Gov. Scott Walker’s office released an executive order activating Wisconsin Army National Guard troops for Election Day.

The order authorized troops to “provide essential services to the Wisconsin Elections Commission,” but didn’t offer further details on the troops’ mission.

Walker’s office issued a news release saying the order allows the National Guard’s cybersecurity team to help the commission if requested.

Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said he can’t remember a governor issuing such an order. And while the Elections Commission didn’t request the executive order, Wolfe welcomed the assistance.

“They (the National Guard) actually have cyber response teams that we can work with, that coordinate with our other state and federal partners,” she said. “They’re just a resource for us to be able to utilize should there be any type of emergency.”

Wolfe said the move was not prompted by any specific threat, and said there was no evidence Wisconsin’s elections infrastructure had ever been compromised.

The Wisconsin National Guard issued a statement Friday afternoon reiterating that “the Elections Commission remains the lead agency” related to the state’s elections, and that “the guard is standing by to support at their request.”

“Wisconsin voters should feel confident that the Wisconsin National Guard’s team is ready if needed to provide assistance on Election Day,” said Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar. “The governor’s executive order simply allows us to deploy those resources quickly.”

Wisconsin’s two U.S. Attorneys — Scott Blader and Matthew Krueger — and the FBI have also announced plans to monitor for, and respond to, potential cases of fraud, intimidation or discrimination at the polls Tuesday.