A new ballot collection box has been installed outside of Madison Fire Department Station #4, on Monroe Street, on Friday, October 16, 2020. The City of Madison Clerk’s Office is installing 14 secure ballot drop boxes outside of fire stations and at the Elver Park shelter.

The LAB’s follow-up review of Madison’s management of the 2020 election found all of the city’s pre-election tests of electronic voting equipment the agency checked were accurate and conducted within the required 10 days of the election.

Meanwhile, all 551 Madison absentee ballot envelopes the Legislative Audit Bureau reviewed included a complete witness address and signature, as well as the voter’s signature.

The LAB on Monday updated its report on the 2020 election after being able to physically review Madison election documents through a subpoena issued by the state Senate. The Madison clerk originally declined to allow LAB staff to physically handle absentee ballot envelopes or pre-election tests of electronic voting equipment, citing guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice. But the city reached an agreement with LAB after the Senate issued the subpoena.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said the review showed Madison’s performance exceeded statewide averages for other municipalities.

“Despite repeated attempts to find problems, it’s once again clear that the Madison Clerk’s Office runs safe and fair elections,” she said. “In fact, the numbers for Madison actually reflected performance exceeding the statewide averages for other municipalities.”

She added those running Madison’s elections “deserve our praise, and their efforts should be replicated across the state and the nation.”

The LAB reviewed 95 pre-election tests of electronic voting equipment that Madison conducted and found all were done within the required 10 days of an election. By comparison, just over half of the tests conducted by other communities that LAB reviewed were done within the required timeframe. The others LAB reviewed were conducted within 11 to 22 days before the November 2020 election.

The LAB conducted a closer examination of 12 Madison tests, which include clerks processing ballots to determine whether the equipment properly counted the votes. In the hand count of those ballots, all 12 Madison tests were accurate. For the other communities, one test in Green Bay included insufficient documentation to make a determination. The rest were accurate.

The audit also included a check of absentee ballot envelopes. Beyond finding the 551 Madison envelopes were filled out completely, the review noted three included information that was corrected by the clerk’s office. For the other 29 communities reviewed, 66 had corrected information.

The LAB in its report noted state law requires absentee ballot envelopes to include the address and signature of the voter as well as the name, address and signature of a witness.

State law doesn’t specify what components of an address are required to satisfy the requirement, and Wisconsin statutes don’t expressly permit or prohibit clerks from correcting errors in witness addresses or adding missing information. The Elections Commission in October 2016 advised clerks they could fill in missing information.

Read the addendum here.

See the original report here.

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