La Crosse conducts first election audit checking accuracy of voting system

Election audits are happening throughout the state of Wisconsin to check on the accuracy of voting machines.

La Crosse County was selected at random for the first time to look at two local voting districts.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is requiring 183 voting districts to go through its ballots. Those districts will look for errors the machines might have missed on election Tuesday.

Local election officials said their machines are very accurate but they want to make sure every voter’s ballot was counted correctly.

“The city of La Crosse was selected to do an audit of two reporting units,” said Teri Lehrke, La Crosse city clerk.

Deputy city clerk Nikki Elsen said it’s a way to let the public know if there are any problems.

“This is just another step to help with transparency,” Elsen said.

The city is looking at Ward 18, the residential area near West Avenue and Jackson St, and Ward 26, on the south side across from the Shelby Shopping Center.

“There’s 391 ballots in ward 18 and there’s and just a little over 1,200 in ward 26,” Elsen said.

Lehrke said they are checking to make sure each ballot was correctly counted.

“They are looking at every ballot,” Lehrke said. “We will compare those hand tallies with the machine tape.”

Two poll workers organize, count and log the results of each ballot.

“At least two sets of eyes will be on every single ballot,” Lehrke said.

If mistakes happen she said this process makes sure they are reported.

“When it’s all said and done we will be looking at those discrepancies if there are any and then reporting them to the state,” Lehrke said.

It’s an effort to show everyone that the system in place is working.

“This is just another step to assure our public that their votes were properly counted,” Elsen said.

The deadline for the results are Nov. 28. The Wisconsin Elections Commission will release the official results on Monday, Dec. 3.

Public information officer Reid Magney from the Wisconsin Election Commission, said the state has been doing this since 2006. He said they have never found a problem.

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