Since 2016, elections across the country have been fraught with accusations from both major political parties of election fraud. Even some theorists have published books, articles, movies, made speeches in order to cash in on the trend.
No one has actually addressed the local true voting process. KIOW has sent two of its staff to both observe and participate in the actual voting day procedures in Winnebago County to see if these election fraud theories take place. What they have found is that procedures are followed to the letter at each precinct they worked.
The process is defined by checks and balances, oversight, and controls. Even in circumstances of casting an absentee ballot, there are safeguards in place. Iowa Secretary of State’s Office Legal Counsel Molly Widen explained that these rules have to be followed.
In Iowa, all ballots are hand marked specifically manufactured paper ballots, with the only exceptions being those with special needs and a touch screen system is then used that prints a marked ballot for inspection.
The reason is due to the “hanging chads” controversy in the Florida 2000 elections.
Both the Winnebago County Elections Commissioner Karla Weiss and Unison regularly test the equipment for accuracy and efficiency. Weiss will hold a public testing of the equipment prior to every election as required by law.
During the election, a precinct is given a specific number of ballots, of which each must be accounted for at the end of the election day. Those ballots, both used and unused, are accounted for again in the Winnebago County Auditor’s Office.
The tabulations do not end there according to Widen.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced this week that all County Election Commissioners must now conduct random audits in two individual races after the elections instead of just one race.
This is in addition to any requested or mandatory recount calls. A final check is done by the county Board of Supervisors who must certify that all of the results on the tabulating machines match the paper ballots that are cast.
Below is a small video that goes into further detail how Winnebago and surrounding counties operate their elections.