No Backups of Election Records
- 7.23(1)(g) Detachable recording units and compartments for use with electronic voting machines may be cleared or erased 14 days after any primary and 21 days after any other election. Before clearing or erasing the units or compartments, a municipal clerk shall transfer the data contained in the units or compartments to a disk or other recording medium which may be erased or destroyed 22 months after the election to which the data relates.
- "But, this is a new (procedure/form/requirement). The election officials are not used to following the new (law/regulation/recommendation)."
I sent out open records requests to various municipalities in the state for copies of the electronic backups created pursuant to 7.23(1)(g) for both the scanners and disability devices for the september, 2006 and November, 2006 elections. So far only the City of Milwaukee and the Village of Germantown (via the county clerk, Brenda Jaszewski) have responded. Neither creates the electronic backups mandated by WI Stats. 7.23(1)(g). From the followup questions to the open records request (e.g "What records are you talking about?"), I don't think anyone in the state is creating the backups legally mandated by WI Stats 7.23(1)(g).
Since, I live in Germantown this is the only place where I have only pursued the matter further. On October 10, 2007 I turned the matter over Washington county DA, Todd Martens. As of Friday, October 19, 2007, offical statement of the office of the Washbington County DA is that the matter is under investigation and there is no further comment at this time. You may contact the DA's office at: 262-335-4311, for further updates.
Here is the original open records request to the Washington County Clerk and her response stating there are no such records in existence. By her own records, Ms. Jaszewski put data on to memory card 6131-DA-D1 on August 26, 2006. More data was added on September 12, 2006, (if nothing else candidate vote totals), and no backup was made before the data was destroyed on October 3, 2006 by Cathy Weston.
I have spoken with a top attorney who specializes in Wisconsin election law. He was unaware that there was a data backup requirement and mention that it is likely I am the first person in 20 years to have checked to see if this election law is being followed. There are a lot of citzen watch dogs (and WI SEB staff) who oversee the enforcement of Chapter 11 (campaign finance), but no watch dogs who double check on the enforcement of Chapter 7 (Election Administration).
Here is to being a Chapter 7 watch dog. Woof Woof.