New Video: Watch Wisconsin Election Officials Reject Hand Counts After Electronic Scanners Make Big Mistake

"I am just stunned at how inaccurate the whole thing is."

Photo Credit: Daniel Greinke

The Wisconsin presidential recount may be over, but it revealed how deeply flawed America's voting machinery can be.

After Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein filed for a recount in the state and paid the $3.4 million fee, she went to court seeking a hand count of all paper ballots. That is the only way to tell if the electronic voting machinery is properly reading the ink marks on the ballots. A state judge agreed that was the "gold standard," but said under state law that it was up to county election officials to decide how they would recount the ballots.

Filmmaker Lulu Friesdat went to Racine, where she and a colleague filmed the Green Party's observers catching an electronic ballot scanning error and their failed attempt to convince local election officials to verify the vote count by hand counting one 300-person precinct. They observed one scanner misreading 15 ballots in the Village of Elmwood Park Ward 1, a ward that had 310 votes total. That is an error rate of 5 percent in a state where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 22,000 votes or less than 1 percent of the vote, according to the official count.

This snapshot of the process is a microcosm of what occurs across America, where not only does the electronic voting machinery make mistakes but procedural decisions pre-empt evidence-based verification of the vote.

This is the second in a three-part series profiling aspects of the 2016 presidential recount in Wisconsin.  



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Lulu Friesdat is an Emmy award-winning journalist whose many news assignments include producing election coverage for MSNBC and editing with the CBS Evening News and Good Morning America. She received a Best Documentary award for directing her first feature-length documentary, Holler Back: [not] Voting in an American Town. Follow her on twitter @LuluFriesdat.