Legislatures around the country, including Wisconsin, have passed legislation to change laws governing the election process.
Proponents of the changes say election laws need to be tightened to prevent election fraud. Opponents say the changes amount to restrictions aimed at Democratic voters, minorities in particular.
In Wisconsin, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed sweeping changes in election laws, but Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, will not sign the changes into law. Sadly, any attempts to ensure voter integrity have been swallowed up by partisanship.
In Texas, the changes will likely become law because a Republican governor has indicated he will sign changes passed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature. Despite the 2020 election results in Texas that favored Republicans, including Donald Trump, the Texas Legislature decided drastic changes in election laws were needed.
One Texas legislator put it this way: He said he was not questioning the presidential election outcome—that Joe Biden defeated Trump fair and square—but that election law “reform” was needed to ensure that voters were comfortable with the election results. He did not define “comfortable” as it applies to election laws, and he did not identify which voters he wants to ensure are comfortable. Opponents of the changes point out that those now wanting them had no problem with the laws when Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.
If you agree with former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill that all politics is local (and I do), then why not check with a local election official to see if our votes counted and the election was conducted on the up and up? Should Rock County voters feel comfortable with the 2020 election results?
“I see no reason why Rock County voters should not feel comfortable with the 2020 election results,” Rock County Clerk Lisa Tollefson said. “The ballots are triple-checked, and there is a strict checks-and-balances system in place.”
Rock County ballots are verified first by municipalities, then the county and finally by the state.
“In addition to triple-checking the results, we have constant monitoring of the entire election process both before and after the election,” Tollefson, a Democrat, said. “In addition to our poll workers, we have observers who monitor voting at the polls. It’s a community effort that ensures things work properly.”
Tollefson reports there were no irregularities found in Rock County voting in the 2020 election.
“That success came as we had a record number of absentee ballots—about 53,000, which was more than 60% of the votes,” she said.
Absentee ballots were tracked and verified online at myvote.wi.gov. Voters can track the status of their ballots, and after the county receives them, the county posts that information on the website.
“Any problems with the absentee ballots are noted by the county as to why a ballot was rejected,” Tollefson said. “That’s just another example of steps taken to ensure that every vote is checked.”
Tollefson said she is certain that Rock County vote totals in the 2020 election are accurate and verifiable.
“There is so much more that goes on to make sure that the election is a true indication of voter preference,” Tollefson said. “Our staff and poll workers undergo extensive training. We check and double-check all the voting systems.
“Having said that, I understand that there are people who only believe what they want to believe,” she said. “But, in the case of the 2020 election, there is just no reason why anyone should feel uncomfortable with the results.”
Tollefson said that also applies to Wisconsin’s statewide results.
“In addition to all the checks and balances at the county level, there were two recounts in Wisconsin’s most populated counties—Dane and Milwaukee,” she said. “The recounts verified the initial vote tallies. There’s no question in my mind about the accuracy of the 2020 election results in Rock County and in Wisconsin.”
There might be voters in Texas who feel uncomfortable about the 2020 election results. Here in Rock County, there appears to be a much higher comfort level.