La Crosse officials assure of safe and accurate election counts ahead of 2022 midterms

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — A recent Marquette law poll revealed that 56% of Wisconsinites are very concerned if their votes will be accurately counted. Still, local experts say your elections are safe.

America is built on democracy. But in recent years, some have challenged that pillar.

“We are encountering an unprecedented amount of conspiracy theories and disinformation online,” said Anthony Chergosky, a political science professor at UW-La Crosse.

Chergosky explained that in some cases, political rhetoric is to blame.

“When a political leader says something like they have doubt in election results, that’s going to have a downstream effect on the views of the general public,” Chergosky said.

That is not voters’ only concern.

Recent, and frequent, Wisconsin court rulings, like the ones that prohibit use of unmanned absentee drop boxes, may be contributing to public mistrust.

“A constant stream, it seems, of court rulings can change how elections are conducted in this state,” Chergosky said.

But Chergosky says that Wisconsinites don’t need to worry.

“Elections in Wisconsin are remarkably transparent,” he said.

People like the City of La Crosse’s Clerk Nikki Elsen run elections. Elsen sees where concern regarding rule changes stems from.

“We go to the Wisconsin Election Commission website and we’re like ‘OK, what is the latest memo on this?’” Elsen said.

Elsen said that everything is secure from before the process begins, to after. Voting machines are sealed, tested and sealed again.

“The counts are triple-checked. They are checked at the municipal level, they are double-checked at the county level, and then they are certified by the state,” Elsen said.

If there are concerns for inaccuracies, they count again.

“Every part of this, too, which is important to note, is transparent and open for public observation,” Elsen said.

Elsen encourages those who have questions to ask them to election administrators directly.

“We want our elections to be secure, we want them to be safe. That transparency is there,” Elsen said.

There are also plenty of opportunities for the public to watch the process, including when they test election machines within ten days of each election.