Wisconsin’s top election officials offer clarity on election results, dispute misinformation circulated on social media

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s top election officials are clarifying the post-Election Day process in an effort to keep voters informed following an election that officials say happened with “very few problems” at polling places.

“I am so proud of Wisconsin’s voters, not just for the record numbers with which they participated in their democracy, but for the peaceful, civil way they did it in this extremely challenging year,” Meagan Wolfe, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said. “There were very few problems reported at polling places, which is a credit to our voters and our local election officials.”

As of Thursday afternoon, election workers throughout the state were working to certify the results of the presidential election. Part of that process requires election officials to verify that every vote cast has a corresponding and valid voter registration.

The unofficial vote count indicates that Wisconsinites cast a record 3,296,374 votes for president. According to election officials, that’s about 72.67% of Wisconsin’s voting age population.

11 05 20 Wisconsin General Election Voter Turnout

On Wednesday, misinformation about Wisconsin’s presidential election, including false claims that absentee ballots were found during the night and the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters, permeated social media. Wolfe shared information Thursday that debunks the lies circulating on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

“Wisconsin doesn’t have more votes than registered voters. It’s impossible,” Wolfe said. “There were no absentee ballots found in the middle of the night. Lawyers and observers for both political parties were on-site and involved the entire time.”

Prompted in part by calls from social media influencers, WEC officials said they have also received a “fair” number of calls from voters looking to verify that their votes counted toward the state’s total. That information is available on myvote.wi.gov.

Wolfe said in a press conference on Nov. 4 that state law allows clerks to take up to 30 days to record registrations and voter participation in the statewide voter database. According to a notice on the MyVote Wisconsin site, it may take longer for those updates to display on the website.

“Many clerks are still catching up on data entry from the huge numbers of absentee ballots submitted,” Wolfe said before explaining that there is no cause for concern from voters, and that the process is working according to state law.

Wolfe went on to say that in the past three presidential elections, Wisconsin has had one of the lowest rates of mail ballot rejections, according to the Elections Performance Index, which is a data monitoring project run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Voters interested in seeing if their absentee ballot was received by their local clerk’s office can check online at myvote.wi.gov.

As city, county and state election officials continue to work through the state’s certification process, Wolfe said it’s important for voters to be vigilant when reading about the election.

“Wisconsin’s election was conducted according to law and in the open,” Wolfe said. “Unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of misinformation on social media and some news media.  If something you see or hear about how Wisconsin voted sounds outrageous, it’s probably false.”