2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
December 13, 2017 - Introduced by Representatives Hebl, Anderson, Berceau,
Genrich, Ohnstad, Pope, Sargent, Shankland, Sinicki, Spreitzer and C.
Taylor, cosponsored by Senators Hansen,
Larson, Miller, Ringhand, L.
Taylor and Vinehout. Referred to Committee on Campaigns and Elections.
1An Act to create
5.42 of the statutes; relating to: post-election risk-limiting
2audits and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Beginning with the 2018 partisan primary, this bill requires the Elections
Commission to conduct risk-limiting audits following each regularly scheduled
primary and general election. The bill defines a risk-limiting audit as an audit
protocol that makes use of statistical methods and is designed to limit to acceptable
levels the risk of certifying a preliminary election outcome that constitutes an
Risk-limiting audits performed for and between the 2018 partisan primary and
2020 spring election are to be performed on a pilot basis on a limited number of offices
specified in the bill: one statewide elective office and one local elective office in each
county in which an election for local office is held. Beginning with the 2020 partisan
primary, the commission must perform risk-limiting audits following each regularly
scheduled election in the manner determined by the commission pursuant to rules
promulgated by the commission. The bill requires the commission to consult with
statisticians, municipal and county clerks, and voting equipment vendors when
promulgating the rules.
The commission must provide at least 48 hours' notice prior to conducting each
risk-limiting audit, and the audit must be open to the public. The commission must
complete each risk-limiting audit within six months following the date of the
election for which the audit was performed and must publish the results of each audit
on the commission's Internet site. In addition, the bill requires, by July 1, 2020,
following the end of the pilot program, and every five years thereafter, the
commission to submit a report to the governor, the Joint Committee on Finance, and
the legislature on the cost and value of performing risk-limiting audits.
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
5.42 of the statutes is created to read:
25.42 Post-election risk-limiting audits. (1)
In this section:
(a) “Audit unit” means the geographic reporting unit, as determined by the 4
commission, used in a risk-limiting audit. An “audit unit” may include a block, 5
election district, ward, and any combination thereof.
(b) “Incorrect outcome” means an outcome that is inconsistent with the election 7
outcome that would be obtained by conducting a full recount of the election.
(c) “Risk-limiting audit” means an audit protocol that makes use of statistical 9
methods and is designed to limit to acceptable levels the risk of certifying a 10
preliminary election outcome that constitutes an incorrect outcome.
(a) The commission shall, beginning with the 2018 partisan primary and 12
following each regularly scheduled election that falls between the 2018 partisan 13
primary and the 2020 spring election, conduct a risk-limiting audit pilot program. 14
For each regularly scheduled election in the pilot program, the commission shall 15
select one state office and one local office in each county in the state in which an 16
election for local office is held and conduct a risk-limiting audit of the elections held 17
for that office. The commission shall conduct the risk-limiting audits under this 18
paragraph in conformance with the rules promulgated under sub. (4).
(b) Beginning with the 2020 general election, the commission shall conduct 2
risk-limiting audits following each general election, spring primary, spring election, 3
and partisan primary. The commission shall conduct the risk-limiting audits under 4
this paragraph in conformance with the rules promulgated under sub. (4).
(c) The commission shall perform the risk-limiting audits under this section 6
in addition to the audits required under s. 7.08 (6).
The commission shall do all of the following:
(a) Provide 48 hours' notice of each risk-limiting audit conducted under this 9
section by publication of a class 1 notice under ch. 985 in one or more newspapers 10
published in the municipality within which the audit unit is located if a newspaper 11
is published therein. If no newspaper is published therein, the commission shall 12
publish the notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality.
(b) Ensure that each risk-limiting audit is open to the public.
(c) Complete each risk-limiting audit performed under this section within 6 15
months after the date of the election for which the audit was performed.
(d) Publish the results of each risk-limiting audit on the commission's Internet 17
(e) By July 1, 2020, and every five years thereafter, submit a report to the 19
governor, the joint committee on finance, and the chief clerk of each house of the 20
legislature for distribution to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2) on the cost and utility 21
of performing risk-limiting audits. The commission shall include in the report any 22
changes in the statutes governing election administration and the performance of 23
risk-limiting audits the commission recommends.
The commission shall promulgate rules to implement this section. The 25
commission shall consult with statisticians, voting equipment vendors, and
municipal and county clerks when promulgating rules under this section. The 2
commission shall include all of the following in the rules:
(a) The minimum and maximum size of each audit unit to be audited under this 4
(b) The number of audit units to be audited following each election.
(c) The criteria the commission will follow in selecting the race or races to audit 7
in each audit unit following each election. All contested races shall be eligible for 8
Before the date on which the rules promulgated under section 5.42 (4) of the 11
statutes are finally promulgated, the elections commission shall administer the 12
post-election risk-limiting audit program under section 5.42 of the statutes 13
according to policies and procedures established by the commission, but not 14
promulgated as rules, notwithstanding the absence of rules to administer that 15