Will Wisconsin Allow Experts to Examine Digital Images of Recounted Ballots?

WhoWhatWhy Files Public Records Request

2016 Election Ballot

WhoWhatWhy has filed a public records request with three Wisconsin counties, seeking access to digital images of paper ballots from the recent election.

We hope to have the images examined by experts in order to determine whether optical scan machines correctly read ballots and whether they in fact correctly assigned votes in the presidential race.

The requests were filed on Thursday afternoon. All three counties were in the process of concluding their recounts, and now the question is whether they will respond in a timely fashion to a media request seeking to clarify a matter of broad public interest.

So far, Brown County (biggest city: Green Bay) Clerk Sandy Juno has replied by email, noting “I am in receipt of your request and will notify you when I have further information.” Waukesha County (Milwaukee suburbs) Clerk Kathleen O. Novack called us back to confirm receipt as well. She said she hoped to reply to us Monday with specifics on when the material might be available. She made clear that the office’s priority is to finish the recount.

Rock County (biggest city: Janesville) Clerk Lisa Tollefson has not acknowledged the request despite several inquiries.

The counties are of particular interest because of an unexpected surge of votes to Donald Trump, and the fact that, although paper ballots could have been counted by hand, the counties chose instead to feed them through optical scanners.

Experts have raised serious concerns about the reliability of the many types of optical scanning technology used in US elections.


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from ballot (Corey Taratuta / Wikimedia – CC BY 2.0) and Flag map of Wisconsin (Fry1989 / Wikimedia)

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