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Wisconsin 2022 elections: How are ballots counted in Wisconsin?

How is my ballot counted in Wisconsin? Here's everything you need to know for the 2022 elections
Posted at 8:24 PM, Oct 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-07 14:08:31-05

WISCONSIN — The 2020 presidential election sparked a lot of misinformation as well as honest questions about how your vote gets counted. With the 2022 election almost upon us in Wisconsin, here's what you need to know about how your ballot gets counted:

How are ballots counted in Wisconsin's 2022 elections?

Wisconsin's MyVote website says that state election officials track who voted using poll books. The books contain lists of all the voters registered at that polling place. When you arrive at the polling place, election workers verify your name and address as well as your photo IDs information using the poll books. None of that private information makes it onto your ballot, however.

After you get your blank ballot and fill it out, the ballot goes into the tabulator where it is counted towards the state's election results, according to MyVote.

How are absentee ballots counted in Wisconsin?

The state also explains that absentee ballots are counted on election day. First, election officials verify the absentee ballot meets all requirements including the presence of a voter signature, witness signature, and witness address.

Next, election officials open the absentee ballot's envelope and place the ballot in the tabulator. When the votes are counted, the voters are marked with their voter number on their corresponding poll book. This entire process can be watched by members of the public.

When the election is all said and done, Wisconsin elections officials review the poll book that voters signed on election day. Officials then manually update the voter registration system. You can verify this by checking the My Voting Activity section on the state's MyVote website. Clerks have 45 days to record the information online after the election concludes.

How does Wisconsin make sure its election results are accurate?

This can be best explained by state election officials themselves. This is how they describe the process (verbatim from the MyVote website):

1. Absentee voter info gets verified.

Before they can request an absentee ballot, eligible voters must first register to vote. Their information and eligibility is double-checked before they receive a ballot.

2. There’s just one ballot per voter.

A powerful statewide database tracks every ballot and voter registration to help local clerks verify voter eligibility and ensure there’s just one ballot per registered voter.

3. Absentee votes must be witnessed.

For an absentee by mail ballot to be considered valid, absentee voters must have a witness—an adult U.S. citizen who can confirm the voter filled out their own ballot.

4. Ballots are securely stored and transported.

Absentee ballots are carefully collected and securely stored until Election Day. There’s a transparent chain of custody for every ballot and voting machine that Wisconsin uses.

5. Absentee ballots always get counted.

Valid absentee ballots are always counted on Election Day, no matter if the race is tight or looks like a landslide.

6. We test and certify the voting equipment.

Most absentee ballots are counted on local voting machines that have been certified and then tested in public before every election, ensuring the equipment is accurate and in good working order. In hand-count jurisdictions, the entire process of opening and counting ballots is conducted by a team of people in a setting that must be open to public observation.

7. Every vote has a paper trail.

Wisconsin requires a paper record of every vote that’s cast in our state, no matter what kind of ballot or voting equipment is used.

8. The public can observe the process.

From voting machine testing to the counting of absentee ballots, members of the public are welcome to observe the election process alongside trained local election officials.

9. Election results are triple-checked.

An election’s vote total isn’t official until it has been checked at the municipal level, double-checked by the county, and certified by the state.

10. Officials look for inaccuracies.

Local election officials conduct two separate audits after Wisconsin elections to look for count inaccuracies and identify cases of vote ineligibility or fraud.