Statement on St. Croix County voting equipment questions

Questions have been raised by some recount observers in St. Croix County about the security of voting equipment.  The Wisconsin Elections Commission has been in contact with the St. Croix County Clerk and the equipment manufacturer, Elections Systems & Software (ES&S), and is confident that this is not an issue that would have affected the accuracy of the results reported by the equipment.

St. Croix County municipalities use DS200 scanners from ES&S.  On a couple of occasions after the equipment was purchased, ES&S sent out a technician to service modems in the scanners, which are used on Election Night to transmit unofficial results to the county.  In order to service modems, the technician was required to break a “warranty seal” covering an access screw to open a door on the scanner. Unfortunately, the technician did not have replacement warranty labels with him to affix after completing his work.

ES&S has produced an affidavit from the technician attesting to the fact that he was the person who broke the seals, why he did so and why they were not replaced.  That affidavit is attached.  

According to Gary Jacobsen, Regional Field Service Manager for ES&S:  “These are warranty seals used by technicians and should not be confused with “security seals” that the County would have used on Election Day. To gain access to the inner workings of the scanner, the technician uses a T-10 Torx screwdriver that has a security tip that is needed because of the special screws that are used.”  

The County Clerk reports that observers from the Stein campaign have been verifying the equipment’s accuracy for selected reporting units by observing the ballots after they are tabulated by the equipment with the broken warranty seals. They have the scanners set up on tables (without the ballot bin) so that every ballot processed by the machine slides out on the table for observers to see and count without handling the ballots.  They are not doing this for every reporting unit recounted on each of the machines in question, but have verified several and all of the hand count tallies match the results tape generated by the scanner.

Based on the evidence provided by the St. Croix County Clerk’s office and ES&S, the Commission staff is confident that the voting equipment is accurately tabulating and reporting the results in St. Croix County.