LAB review of Madison records does not lead to changes in 2020 election audit findings

MADISON, Wis. — The Legislative Audit Bureau’s analysis of election records from the city of Madison did not result in any changes to the agency’s conclusions from an October audit of the 2020 election.

On Monday, the LAB released an update to its October audit to include data from Madison. That update showed auditors reviewed 551 absentee ballot certificates and found none of them had missing voter information, whether in the form of a missing voter signature, witness signature or partial or missing voter address.

The LAB also said all 95 tests of voting machines in Madison were done within the 10-day window before Election Day as required by statute. A closer review of 12 machines found they all accurately counted sample ballots during the test, the agency said.

The city had previously refused to let auditors physically handle election records, arguing federal and state laws require its clerk to keep control of them. Instead, the city offered to provide copies of the records but not the originals.

A memo from the LAB released by Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said the laws did not prevent the city from doing so, though nonpartisan legislative attorneys called the city’s decision “arguably reasonable” the day before.

After getting a subpoena from the Senate, the city’s clerk allowed the LAB to physically access election records one at a time, the LAB said in a summary letter outlining Monday’s supplemental update.

The initial audit did not find evidence of widespread fraud but did include 30 recommendations for improvements the Wisconsin Elections Commission could make for future elections and 18 issues lawmakers could take up on the topic.

In a statement Monday evening, the Democratic members of the LAB said the findings “show what we have known all along: Wisconsin’s 2020 November election was safe, accurate, secure, and fair.”

“Despite the GOP’s best attempts to sow doubt and demonize our election officials, they are again proven wrong by the Legislative Audit Bureau’s supplement report,” the statement continued.