Wisconsin Election Integrity

An important message from Karen McKim at Wisconsin Election Integrity:

Hello, Wisconsin election-security advocates:

I am getting some good questions about how to protest the bad elections equipment that the WEC will vote on at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept 24, at 10 AM.

The machines in question are barcoding ballot marking devices. These won’t be the first barcoding BMDs the WEC has approved, but they have got to stop. These machines are insecure because voters cannot verify their own ballots. The systems count only the votes that are recorded in barcodes; the names printed on the ballot are merely decorative.

You can get the Commissioners’ attention by emailing them anytime—like now—at elections@wi.gov, with “Don’t Barcode our votes” in the subject line). The Commissioners DO receive the emails, they have assured me. (Can’t say whether they read, which is why the subject line is important.)

If you’re on Twitter, you can tweet to @WI_Elections.

We can get both the Commissioners’ and the press’s attention if more than 10 voters show up at the meeting (a big crowd, for the WEC), which is at 10AM on Tuesday morning in the 3rd floor conference room of 212 East Washington in Madison.

Ideas for content for the message (either email or in-person):

  • Barcoded ballots are completely unnecessary. Voting machine companies can and do make machines that do everything barcoding machines do while introducing none of the problems.
  • Even if there were no security issues, barcoded ballots corrode voter confidence.
  • These machines could soon be outlawed or declared unconstitutional violations of our voting rights. Municipal investment in these machines will be wasted. (The Commission already knows pending federal legislation would prohibit unverifiable voting equipment and the voters in Georgia have sued over their constitutionality.) 
  • If you want voter confidence, earn it by refusing to certify equipment that makes our elections insecure.
  • Barcoded ballots make elections unauditable because auditors cannot be confident the manually readable votes reflect actual voter intent. Research has shown that voters cannot and do not reliably read the text-printed votes, and only the barcodes are counted.
  • Use the money you’re spending on PR consultants on cybersecurity consultants instead. If you’re even considering these machines, you need their guidance more than you need the PR consultants.
  • Stop protecting the voting machine companies, and start protecting our votes. WE are your stakeholders, not the voting-machine companies.

Pointers for in-person public comment

  • You won’t have to stay long. Public comment is the first item on the agenda. There are other things on their agenda in addition to approving these machines.
  • If a lot of people show up for public comment, the Chairperson will cancel the public comment period entirely. That’s okay—we will have made our point; forced them to acknowledge our presence and our demand for secure elections; and we can leave early.
  • Arrive at 9:45. There will be a desk with public comment forms—name, address, what’s your issue? Fill one out and give it to a staff person or put it back on the desk.
  • If only a few people show up, you’ll have five minutes to talk. They’re just as happy if you don’t use the full five minutes. All you need to say is “Voters don’t want barcoded ballots. It erodes voter confidence and makes our elections unauditable. Stop certifying these machines.”

Thank you for helping to put a stop to this unnecessary and dangerous foolishness!

Karen McKim

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