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An independent and nonpartisan audit of the 2020 Wisconsin general election made dozens of recommendations for improving the voting process but did not find evidence of widespread fraud.
The report released by the Legislative Audit Bureau Friday did not find that President Joe Biden's victory was obtained through any fraudulent measures, though it critiqued some of the state’s elections procedures and requested the Election Commission to review and implement the audit’s suggestions, including a recommendation to clarify polling places, by the end of March 2022.
“With 30 recommendations, many of which are urgent and significant, for the [Wisconsin Elections Commission] staff and another 18 items for Legislative consideration, we have work to do,” said Republican state Sen. Robert Cowles. “However, despite concerns with statewide elections procedures, this audit showed us that the election was largely safe and secure.”
State Rep. Samantha Kerkman, also a Republican, said the audit "uncovered a number of instances in which existing laws were ignored by the very agency entrusted with overseeing our state’s elections."
"My Republican legislative colleagues and I remain committed to using the audit’s findings as a blueprint to bring necessary reforms where needed," she said.
But Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said the report's recommendations don't demonstrate a lack of election security.
“They made recommendations to clarify things where there was ambiguity, but none of those things had anything to do with election results," said Hintz.
In a review of nearly 15,000 ballots, the audit found that about 7% had partial witness signatures, and 24 people had two active voter registrations.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos commissioned another audit of the state’s election after former President Donald Trump criticized him for not doing enough to investigate. This summer, Vos appointed retired conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who alleged there is "some evidence" local officials did not follow established state law last November, as special counsel.
Since Trump's defeat last November, the former president has called for audits in closely decided states despite officials assuring the votes were secure and numerous recounts affirming his loss. The high-profile audit of Arizona's Maricopa County confirmed Biden's victory in the Grand Canyon State, though officials did refer the matter to the state's attorney general for further investigation.
Wisconsin was a hotly contested battleground state between Biden and Trump, with the former winning by about 21,000 votes.
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Original Author: Virginia Aabram
Original Location: Wisconsin audit finds election 'largely safe and secure'