Milwaukee County starts canvass process to double-check and certify election results

NOW: Milwaukee County starts canvass process to double-check and certify election results

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MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County election officials will spend the next week and a half double- and triple-checking election results undertaking a process known as canvassing.

Milwaukee County began the canvassing process at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5.

"This is what is done after every election, and it is also to make sure that what was done was done correctly at the polls," said Julietta Henry, director of elections for Milwaukee County.

The total number of ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election was 460,300, according to Henry.

There are 478 wards in Milwaukee County. Municipalities had to turn in their election materials to the county.

"We are basically going through the process of auditing what took place on Election Day. We're verifying that the last voter number is indeed the last voter number. We're checking the poll list to find the last voter number. We're checking the inspector statement to make sure the last voter number is there, and we're also checking the tape, the actual tape to verify that that number is indeed the last voter number," Henry explained.

All election results up until this point have been unofficial, but canvassing is the process that makes the results official, according to Wisconsin's chief election official, Meagan Wolfe.

"Did the municipality get it right? Did they have the right number of voter numbers issued? The right number of signatures on the poll book?Did they have the right number of ballots cast? Does all of that match? If it doesn't, they can send it back to the municipality and say, 'You made a mistake. You need to go back and fix this,'" said Wolfe, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin is asking for volunteers to observe the canvass process. A spokesperson for the Republican Party of Milwaukee County told CBS 58 they have already heard from people interested in volunteering.

Doubts have been cast about "irregularities" in Wisconsin. But Wolfe said those claims are unfounded, and the spikes seen in absentee ballots added overnight on Election Night in Milwaukee County were because mail-in ballots were processed all at once at Central Count.

Wolfe and Henry both stressed the importance of transparency.

"It's important to do this (canvassing) because, again, this is making sure that the integrity of the election is intact. We're checking and verifying all of the information. If you are interested in observing that process, you can come down and become an observer," Henry said.

Other counties are starting the canvass process at different times. They have to turn their results into the state by Nov. 17.

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