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National Issues

February 19 Snapshot: Hawaii and Wisconsin PDF  | Print |  Email
By Verified Voting Foundation   
February 17, 2008
On February 19, Hawaii's Democratic Party will hold its caucuses, and Wisconsin will hold its Democratic and Republican Presidential primaries.

According to the state Democratic Party, Hawaii caucus-goers will cast their votes on paper ballots, which will be counted by hand. Any registered voter can join the state Democratic Party at the caucus location. Hawaii has roughly 610,000 registered voters, and voters do not register by party in Hawaii. Turnout is expected to increase substantially in the 2008 caucus.

Wisconsin's party primaries are open to any registered voter, and voters may register on election day.  The state has over 3.3 million registered voters, a number which may increase substantially with registrations on election day.  In the 2006 general election, almost 17 per cent of the total turnout consisted of election-day registrations.

Wisconsin has a number of different voting systems. Paper ballots, either optically scanned or hand-counted, are the primary method of voting in all but one county.

Election jurisdictions are organized at the municipal level in Wisconsin, and there are over 1,900 local election jurisdictions.    

Wisconsin law requires post-election audits following general elections, but there is currently no requirement for an audit of Presidential primaries. Wisconsin's top election authority, the Government Accountability Board, states that it encourages municipalities to conduct post-election audits of the Presidential primary.

Primary voting systems:

  • Optically scanned paper ballots are the primary voting system in over 1000 of the state's jurisdictions. These are the most populous areas of the state, including Milwaukee and Madison, and will comprise a majority of the votes cast in the primary. Over 300 towns use Premier (Diebold) optical  scanners, almost 300 use Election Systems and Software (ES&S) scanners, and just under 400 use the Optech IIIP Eagle, a system which has been marketed by both ES&S and by Sequoia Voting Systems. 75 use Sequoia's latest Optech Insight scanner.
  • Over 800 municipalities use hand-counted paper ballots as the primary system.
  • 24 municipalities in Pierce County use an electronic machine from defunct Voting Technologies International (VTI). These machines are connected to a printer in the polling place. The voter can choose to utilize this option, or she vote without verifying her vote on paper. Pierce County is the only county in the nation using this system.

Accessible voting systems:
  • 479 Wisconsin jurisdictions use the AutoMARK ballot-marking device for accessibility.
  • 2 jurisdictions use the Populex digital ballot marking system, and 26 use the Vote-PAD assistive device, which provides tactile and audio interface to allow a voter to mark a paper ballot.
  • Almost 1,400 of the state's jurisdictions use direct-recording electronic (DRE) touch screens with a voter-verifiable paper audit trail for their accessible voting system. Paper ballots are the primary voting system in all of these counties.
  • Pierce County's unique primary voting system is also the accessible voting system in its 24 jurisdictions.

Sources:
Democratic Party of Hawaii
Clerk of the City and County of Honolulu, HI
Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, Elections Division
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