Voter discrepancies found in Eau Claire

Following high-profile allegations of voter fraud in the Milwaukee area, an independent firm found discrepancies between the number of ballots cast on Nov. 2 and the number of registered voters in more than 50 Wisconsin communities, including Eau Claire.

Practical Political Consulting collects voting demographics and sells it to potential candidates. PPC originally reported only 92.5 percent of Eau Claire votes were accounted for; however, Eau Claire City Clerk Donna Austad said PPC did not receive a complete list from Eau Claire election officials.

“What PPC did was they contacted us shortly after the election and asked for a copy of our voter list,” Austad said. “However, not all the information had been entered into the computer.”

The original report, released by the PPC to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week, showed Eau Claire listing 34,720 voters in the November election, but 37,525 ballots were cast. Now, Austad said, that gap of 2,805 votes has been narrowed to 32.

“Since (the time of the report) we have completed entering all the registrations from Election Day,” she said, adding it’s common to have a couple dozen discrepancies in major elections due to people unintentionally voting in the wrong wards.

“It’s easy to see the boundaries (for the wards) are not straight,” she said. “Sometimes people living on the edge of the city actually live in the township, but they come to the closest voting site.”

Senior Catherine Hanson, an intern for the New Voters Project at Eau Claire, said various organizations took steps to ensure the polls ran smoothly in November.

“The people who were there took up their whole day to come watch the polls,” she said.

Austad said problems of voter fraud, like those claimed in Milwaukee, more than likely did not affect Nov. 2 results for the city of Eau Claire.

In the Milwaukee area, PPC found a gap of close to 7,000 votes, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found similar discrepancies in an independent investigation earlier this month. The discovery prompted Mayor Tom Barrett to appoint an election task force that will audit the Nov. 2 results for Milwaukee.

PPC listed comparable numerical inconsistencies in Madison, Fond du Lac and Neenah.

Hanson said new voters shouldn’t be disheartened by reports of potential fraud in the state.

“The fact that there could be malpractices of the system shouldn’t discourage participation.”

– The Associated Press contributed to this article