How your vote gets counted, and why it won’t get hacked

18 percent of registered voters say they are "not very confident" the votes for president will be accurately counted

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Faith in America’s voting system seems to be taking a hit among registered voters during this election.

In a new Marquette Law School Poll released Wednesday, 38 percent of likely voters said they’re ‘very confident’ the votes for president will be accurately counted. Thirty percent said they are ‘somewhat’ confident, 18 percent said they are ‘not very confident’ and 12 percent said they are ‘not at all confident.”

Before Wisconsinites even step foot in a polling place on Election day, the voting machines are checked and sealed by a chief inspector.

“The voting equipment all has numbered seals on it,” said Reid Magney, Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Once the voting equipment is approved, voters line up to fill out a ballot, but no matter who they vote for, all ballots leave an anonymous paper trail.

“Every ballot in Wisconsin has a paper back up,” said Magney, “None of our voting equipment in Wisconsin is connected to the internet meaning people can’t hack in and change votes or do things like that.”

When the polls close, the machines print out unofficial voting results.

“Then that information gets transmitted to the municipal clerk, to your city clerk, and that could be done either by a modem. It could be done by taking the memory stick from the polling place to the city clerk’s office,” said Magney.

From there the unofficial results are passed along

“We call our results to the county clerks and the county clerks then post our results on their website,” said Kami Lynch, City of Appleton Clerk.

Wisconsin’s official election results are not released until about a week after the election because the votes are checked and rechecked by local and county officials to make sure all the ballots were counted correctly.

“It’s a very local process and that decentralization is what makes it extremely difficult to do anything illegal in terms of changing votes,” said Magney.

Early absentee voting ends Friday, November 4. However, the absentee ballots will not be counted until Election Day and as long as the absentee ballot is filled out correctly, it will be counted.