The non-partisan auditors made a series of recommendations to lawmakers on how to ensure security in future elections. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Independent auditors determined there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election in Wisconsin, but made dozens of recommendations for new rules Friday.
Wisconsin's Legislature ordered the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau to evaluate the state's electronic voter registration system and its electronic voting equipment in February after former President Donald Trump and other Republicans questioned the security and legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump lost to President Joe Biden in Wisconsin by 20,682 votes, according to recount totals, a margin of about 0.6%, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
The LAB said its review found that dozens of voting machines that it assessed were found to be working correctly. Nor did the agency find any evidence that Biden "stole" the election from Trump.
State Sen. Robert Cowles, a Republican co-chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, said he planned to evaluate the report in detail in the coming weeks.
"However, despite concerns with statewide elections procedures, this audit showed us that the election was largely safe and secure," he tweeted.
His co-chairwoman, state Rep. Samantha Kerkman, also a Republican, noted the problems the LAD did find.
"Elections are the foundation upon which our government is built," she said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this non-partisan report uncovered a number of instances in which existing laws were ignored by the very agency entrusted with overseeing our state's elections. It is critically important that we restore trust in our elections process. My Republican legislative colleagues and I remain committed to using the audit's findings as a blueprint to bring necessary reforms where needed."
The LAD, for instance, was unable to review physical ballots from Milwaukee County and the city of Madison, which both tend to vote for Democrats.
The auditors recommended the state establish a series of rules in order to continue securely using ballot drop boxes, such as standards for allowing clerks to fill in missing information on absentee ballot envelopes.
State Rep. Mark Spreitzer, a Democrat, said the LAD's findings were further proof that former Judge Michael Gableman should end his review of the 2020 presidential election on behalf of Republican lawmakers. He called the investigation a "complete waste of taxpayer money."
"Democrats have consistently supported adequately funding local clerks so that they are able to do the important work that we ask of them during each and every election. That is an infinitely better use of our tax dollars," Sprietzer tweeted.
"We should be able to work together to improve voting access for Wisconsinites while quashing the conspiracy theories that right-wing extremists continue to peddle despite overwhelming evidence against their claims."
Democratic presidential nomimee Joe Biden addresses supporters at a drive-in rally outside of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Monday, the night before the election. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo