Republican lawmakers order audit of Wisconsin's election system

The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau will handle the review.

File: Wisconsin Capitol.jpg
The Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. Laura Zimmerman/WPR

Republican state lawmakers have ordered an audit of the way elections are administered in Wisconsin, a move Democrats warn could feed conspiracy theories and cast doubt on future elections.

GOP lawmakers who run the Legislature's audit committee voted to conduct the review Thursday, Feb. 11. Wisconsin's nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau will conduct the study.

The audit will look at how the Wisconsin Elections Commission and local clerks comply with election laws. It will also study the use of electronic voting machines, and how complaints about the general election have been handled.

Republicans who ordered the audit said they were responding to a deluge of contacts from constituents, who had questions about how the 2020 election was conducted.

RELATED: Wisconsin lawmakers approve plan to give in-person schools more federal coronavirus aid The GOP-controlled state budget committee passed the plan as Democrats raised concerns.


RELATED: Republican health committee leaders offer differing views on future COVID-19 legislation State Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, said he is hopeful the chamber can introduce legislation soon that might return to the Senate's compromise package. But state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, said he was not interested in removing items from the package Evers vetoed.

"I know that this audit will help people understand our elections better and hopefully put to rest concerns," said Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, the committee's co-chair.

Democrats said they had faith that the Legislative Audit Bureau would conduct a thorough audit, but they worried about the timing.

"And I fear that this will lead to more doubts about future elections," said Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison.

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by 20,682 votes following a recount in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The recount resulted in few changes to the results reported on election night.

Former President Donald Trump and Republican allies filed several lawsuits in an effort to overturn Wisconsin's results. In each case, the courts rejected them.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission conducted a partial audit of its voting machines after the election. That audit uncovered no problems .

During a GOP-led hearing on the election last year, Republican Elections Commissioner Dean Knudson testified that there was no evidence in the election of "ballot dumps" and no fraud related to Dominion voting machines.


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