Voter Protection

Originally posted at on July 24, 2012

Ever feel like you can’t trust our government to count your vote? You’re not alone! Want to do something about it? Visit Election Defense Alliance (EDA). VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED!

A democratic election requires that you can:

  1. Mark your ballot in private
  2. Cast your ballot in public
  3. Count the ballots in public

Without ballots counted in public, we do not have democratic elections. It’s crucial to have citizens exercising their prerogative to watch ballot-counting in public.

The following is an example of the steps EDA takes at the Wisconsin polls to help make sure your vote is counted: (your county may vary, and the EDA helps with these variations)

  1. Observe the closing of the polls at 8:00 pm. Request a copy of the poll tape that the poll worker prints out of the tabulator (optical scanner). This is an open record and the Government Accountability Board states that you have a right to request it as long as you are not disrupting their work. An alternative is to photograph the original tape (not a copy) with a cell phone or a disposable digital camera. Members of the public may observe all poll sites and counting locations: Wisconsin Statutes: 7.41 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Some polling places lock their doors at 8:00, but this is illegal. If you have a problem, call the Government Accountability Board at (608) 261-2028, or email the Help Desk at They will be at their office until 10 pm on Election Day But you really ought to arrive by 7:45 pm anyway. In fact, to be most efficient, these individuals could simply go to vote near the closing time to combine voting, watching the poll closing and print-out process, and reporting the count.
  2. Also record two more numbers:
    1. The number of signatures on the poll book after the poll worker finishes counting them.
    2. The number on the top of the scanner’s computer screen that shows the TOTAL BALLOT CAST. This number should match the number of signatures and the total ballots cast on the poll tape. Report any differences in these three numbers.

If you are at a location that hand-counts ballots, watch the hand counting process and record the totals for that process in the same manner above (1).

  1. Report the vote totals to the person who is heading up this operation for your county. Bring that person’s name and phone number with you and call in your totals as soon as you leave the polling site.
  2. Have a person, or preferably two people, present at County Election Headquarters to watch and record the vote totals counted on the computers that are adding up the totals being reported in from the “wards.”
  3. That person (or an assistant) should also receive the calls from your team-members at the individual polling sites (wards). Add up the numbers that are called in. Have the other person from your team witness or double-check the totaling process. Compare these called-in totals with the County election totals (4). Also compare with the totals that are later posted on the County Clerk’s website, and/or the Government Accountability Board’s website, as well as those reported in the newspaper on November 7th.
  4. Report whatever comparisons you have as soon as you get them to the person heading up this operation for the State.

To reiterate, citizens observe the closing of their own poll and report the vote totals. One person receives these citizen observed totals and adds them up. One other person observes at election headquarters to get the machine counted vote totals and compares them to the citizen observed totals. Report these comparisons to the person leading this action in Wisconsin.

You are playing a very valuable role in ensuring the accuracy of the reported vote totals. Thank you very much! To see a video on this issue, watch:


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