Wisconsin election officials fight misinformation

The Wisconsin Elections Commissions (WEC) on Thursday, Nov. 5 continues to fight a wave of misinformation as a contentious vote count rages on.

"I think the more people know about the process, they feel much better about it.  Once they can see the facts," said WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe.

In Wisconsin, every step of the process has played out in public view. For some, though, there's still doubt.

"How do we know where our ballot actually went?  How do we know where it is right now?" questioned Dillon Vojvodich.

Vojvodich recently moved from Franklin to West Allis. On Election Day, he said he went to a polling place to register to vote with his new address. When he got up on Wednesday morning to check MyVote Wisconsin that his ballot had been processed, it wasn't there.

"Everything is going problematic for the Republican Party.  It’s a little bit concerning.  I see a little bit of suspicious activity in that," Vojvodich said.

Volunteers count absentee ballots in Milwaukee

Under state law, Wolfe said it can take up to 45 days for local clerks to update paper registrations and voter participation to the electronic, statewide voter database. The process has been in place since 2006. For peace of mind, voters can call their local election official.

"They do have the poll book, right? That’s the information they use to put into the statewide system. They are able to verify that for you at the local level as well," said Wolfe.

Perhaps the wildest accusation elections officials face is that more votes were cast in Wisconsin than there are registered voters -- which is also not true. If a municipality is reporting 110% turnout, for example, it's because the state offers same-day voter registration at the polls. 

Voters line up in Cedarburg on Election Day, Nov. 3 2020.

The state reported a record 3,296,374 votes cast in the presidential election.

"Every ballot cast in the State of Wisconsin has a paper audit trail.  Every absentee request is available during that public process," Wolfe said.

Still, Vojvodich isn't convinced.

"We should know where our ballots are. All ballots should be accounted for and monitored, and they should put a stop to the counting of all ballots until everything is being monitored by the Republican Party," said Vojvodich.

While election officials work to certify results, a group of conservatives held a "Stop the Steal" rally in Milwaukee outside the Milwaukee Central Count office on Thursday night.

Organizers, who drove up from Illinois, said they are receiving proof of ballot fraud and tampering in Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S. The group claims the fix is on. Organizer Ashely Ramos said she has seen proof in Chicago of ballots being swept under jackets. She is worried that the election is being stolen.

"If it's happening in Chicago, it's happening everywhere, and something needs to be done about it, and people need to know," Ramos said. "It needs to stop being hidden or acting like it's some crazy conspiracy. It's not."

Counter-protesters, including State Rep. David Bowen, met the group outside Central Count. Both sides started yelling, and Milwaukee police officers were sent to watch over things. Both sides left around 10 p.m.

Some rally-goers also said they are suspicious of the president's 100,000 vote lead in Wisconsin on election night that suddenly swung to a 20,000 vote lead for Biden early Wednesday morning. Wolfe said the vote swing was driven by votes -- not fraud.

"There were no absentee ballots found in the middle of the night. There were lawyers and observers from both parties on-site and involved the entire time. That even includes even at 4 a.m. when ballots were still being counted," Wolfe said.

Marquette University Political Science Professor Philip Rocco, who also works as an election official, said that the sharp influx in ballots was to be expected with around two million people voting absentee -- especially with the city's central-county setup.

"It looks like a lot of votes added at once. That is not votes being found or discovered somewhere. That is an example of votes being added in bulk, which is a completely normal process. It happens all the time," said Rocco.

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Rocco also pointed to the fact that clerks across Wisconsin asked the state legislature for more time to count absentee ballots, anticipating the high turnout, but were denied.

Thus, they had to begin on Election Day and could not finish until every ballot was counted.

State officials said they welcome any and all questions from voters. They pledge to remain transparent every step of the way.

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