Members of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission and agency leadership on Wednesday, Dec. 1 met for more than 10 hours and addressed all 30 recommendations included in the Legislative Audit Bureau’s October report on administration of the state’s 2020 presidential election.
The Commission authorized WEC staff to begin the process of promulgating administrative rules, as auditors recommended, and highlighted other areas where no action is necessary, but where the Commission provided staff direction on next steps.
The Commission also completed a letter to notify the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee of the Commissioners’ work so far to come together and address the Audit Bureau’s recommendations. The LAB report calls for an official response from the Commission by March 31, 2022, and staff and Commissioners’ plan to provide further updates to lawmakers and the LAB before that date.
The WEC also notes that it has previously taken action to fulfill numerous LAB recommendations. In those cases, Commissioners directed that the WEC staff either re-start previous Administrative Rules or underscore that the WEC believes that it is already in compliance.
“We were pleased to finally be able to dig into all of the LAB recommendations with the full Commission, and it feels like we made great progress,” Wolfe said.
Included among the topics on which the Commission decided to work toward promulgating Administrative Rules to address LAB concerns were:
- specifying how municipal clerks may establish secure and accessible drop boxes where individuals can return absentee ballots.
- implementing existing guidance on completing missing witness address information.
- clarifying the process for relocating polling places in emergency situations.
- establishing additional standards for electronic voting equipment and software security.
Some of the LAB’s recommendations required no action, but were reviewed and affirmed by the Commission, as the WEC was already in full compliance, such as having an agreement with the Department of Transportation to obtain the electronic signatures of individuals who register online to vote. The WEC already has an agreement with DOT to obtain the signatures when needed.
Attached is a copy of the letter to audit committee co-chairs. Additionally, draft meeting minutes of the Dec. 1 meeting can be found via this link.