MADISON, Wis. – Following the 2022 November General Election, the Wisconsin Elections Commission issued the following list of things that Wisconsinites should know:
1. Unofficial turnout was higher than most midterms but didn’t exceed 2018 turnout levels.
Unofficially, 56.75% of Wisconsin’s eligible voters turned out to vote on Tuesday. That’s higher than almost all midterm elections in Wisconsin but does not exceed the record levels set for a Wisconsin midterm in 2018, when 59.43% of Wisconsin’s eligible voters cast a ballot.
Wisconsin has historically been among the top states in terms of voter turnout percentage.
Wisconsin does not have a state process for reporting unofficial Election Night results. However, WEC does offer links to all 72 county clerk websites, where clerks are required to post unofficial results: https://elections.wi.gov/clerks/directory/county-websites.
Without an official statewide reporting process, the most reliable and accessible source of statewide and legislative district totals at this time is the Associated Press. The WEC calculates unofficial turnout by adding together the unofficial votes cast in the highest-turnout statewide race on the ballot for which the AP collected data and dividing the total by the state’s estimated voting-age population.
Other media outlets or jurisdictions may report unofficial turnout in a different way by dividing the unofficial votes cast in the highest-turnout race by the number of registered voters. Individuals using this method should keep in mind that Wisconsin offers Election Day registration, so this method would fail to account for voters who registered then. Election Day registrations will be entered into the state system 30 to 45 days after the election.
Unofficial results collected by the Associated Press indicate, as of Friday, there were at least 2,653,820 total votes cast in the contest for governor, which equals about 57% of Wisconsin’s 2022 estimated voting age population of 4,676,183 as estimated by the Department of Administration’s Demographic Services Center: https://doa.wi.gov/DIR/Final_Ests_Co_2022.pdf
There may be small differences in how historical turnout data was calculated that could slightly affect the percentages. Historical turnout statistics can be found at https://elections.wi.gov/statistics-data/voter-turnout.
The unofficial turnout figure likely represents an undercount of voters, as some voters may have chosen not to vote in the contest for U.S. Senate or governor.
The WEC will publish official results once they have been canvassed at the local level and certified by the Commission Chair.
2. It will take time for a voter’s election participation record to be updated in the statewide voter database.
Voters shouldn’t worry if their voter participation record in MyVote hasn’t been updated yet to reflect that they cast a ballot in Tuesday’s election.
It can take 30 to 45 days for local election officials to enter everyone’s paper registrations and voter participation into the electronic statewide voter database, as allowed by state law.
Please do not worry if you do not see your participation or registration recorded immediately. Wisconsin clerks will be updating each record individually over time.
A message on the MyVote website informs voters how long it can take to enter participation.
The MyVote website will show voters that their vote was recorded under the My Voting Activity section of the My Voter Info tile once the local clerk has recorded the voter’s participation in the statewide voter registration system.
3. Wisconsin is prepared if there’s a recount.
Recount petitions for the state level and national offices on the General Election ballot would be filed with the Elections Commission. If the vote totals from the completed county canvasses for such two-candidate contests are separated by 1% or less, the candidate trailing the leading candidate has the right to petition for a recount. Wisconsin does not have automatic recounts, even if the unofficial results are close. There is no cost to the petitioning candidate if the difference between the leading candidate and the petitioner is 0.25% or less. If the difference is more than 0.25%, the WEC will estimate the cost, which must be paid before the recount begins. More information about recounts is available here: https://elections.wi.gov/elections/recounts
A trailing candidate may request a recount only after the completion of the county canvasses and no later than 5 p.m. on the third business day following the last meeting day of the last County Board of Canvassers that completes its canvass. This would be no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 28.
4. Post-Election Audit
Wisconsin law requires a post-election audit of voting systems used in Wisconsin after each General Election. The audit, designed to assess the accuracy and performance of each voting system approved for use in the state, is a public meeting and proper notice must be provided at least 48 hours in advance. A representative sample of reporting units that use each type of voting equipment are included in the selection process. The parameters of each audit are established by the Elections Commission.
During this process, election workers conduct an independent hand count of paper ballots and tally the results of the contests. The final hand-count tally total is compared to the election night voting system results. Audit materials are then submitted to WEC for review, and any discrepancies are investigated by WEC staff. The audit data is then presented to the six-member, bi-partisan Wisconsin Elections Commission in a public meeting, where the Commission will determine if there are any discrepancies that require further review or violate the terms of verification.
The WEC may vote to request a vendor investigate and provide explanation for any unexplained discrepancies. WEC may, at its sole discretion, choose to re-test any voting system should any issues arise in the audit.
For this election, the WEC will audit voting equipment from a 10% random sample of the reporting units statewide. WEC staff met on Wednesday in a public meeting to make the random selection, which includes 369 reporting units in 301 municipalities across Wisconsin.
A list of selected reporting units and municipalities can be found here: https://elections.wi.gov/2022-voting-equipment-audit