Canvassing: why this exhaustive task is so important to validating the vote

Posted at 6:23 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 19:23:15-05

MILWAUKEE — All of the votes have been counted, but things aren’t over in Wisconsin.

Thursday, the process of canvassing started in Milwaukee County. Essentially, it’s a three-step process done at different levels to certify the vote and cement the reports of vote totals as fact.

“Simply put, this is the triple check on the election process,” Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s Chief Election Official said. “It’s what takes unofficial results and makes them official certified results.”

Wolfe says these checks will show what happened during the election cycle is proper.

“I’m proud of local election officials and poll workers,” Wolfe said. “I understand your right to vote is sacred. There is a very robust system to protect your vote and make sure only valid ballots can be counted.”

In addition to the checks and balances leading up to the election, Wolfe says post-election checks are there to ensure the integrity of the election. First, municipalities must canvass their elections. The day after the election, they hand over the information they gathered to their county. In Milwaukee County, all 19 municipalities turned in the information by Wednesday.

Step two, all 72 counties in the state will again look over those results to make sure they match the information they were given. They each have until November 17 to finish.

The third step goes to the capital. Now, the Wisconsin Election Commission will put a third pair of eyes over all of the results from each and every corner of Wisconsin to certify the results. At that point, the results of the election are certified. This must be completed by December 1.

Because of this, Wolfe says any concerns over tampering in this election will be proven wrong. She also adds, the entire election process is open to the public to watch it as it unfolds, including this canvassing step. She encourages everyone who has concerns to head to their respective areas to observe the canvassing process. It’s an exhaustive, but necessary process.

“Unofficially, Wisconsin voters cast 3,296,374 votes for President,” Wolfe said. “That’s the most ever in the State of Wisconsin.”

By the beginning of December, that number will be written in ink in the record books.

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