Introduction to Voting Equipment Audits

As required by Section 7.08(6), Wis. Stats, following the November general election, the Wisconsin Elections Commission is required to direct an audit of each voting system used in the state to determine the error rate of the system in counting ballots that are validly cast by electors. The audit consists of two independent hand-tallies of ballots tabulated by electronic voting systems. The results of the hand-count are verified against the results report produced by the voting system.

The purpose of the audit is to ensure that voting equipment used in Wisconsin is accurately counting ballots according to federal standards, which is 1 error in 500,000 ballots. It is not to verify the accuracy of voting equipment prior to certification of the results. If a piece of equipment did not meet standards (which has never happened since audits began in 2006), the Elections Commission could order the municipality or county with defective equipment to take remedial action (such as purchasing new equipment).