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MADISON – A standoff over election records between Republican lawmakers and Madison city officials has come to a quiet end.

Legislative auditors spent about eight hours on Thursday reviewing records at city hall, according to City Attorney Michael Haas and others.

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Auditors spent most of the year looking into election practices across the state at the request of Republicans who control the Legislature. They released a report last month that did not question any election results but determined state officials needed to adopt formal rules on ballot drop boxes and absentee ballot paperwork.

In their report, auditors noted Madison did not allow them to handle ballots and other documents because of guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice limiting access to election records.

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Republican lawmakers called Madison’s response unacceptable because most other communities allowed auditors to handle their records. They issued a subpoena this month demanding the city let auditors handle the certificates that accompany absentee ballots and test results from voting machines.

In response, City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl last week offered to allow auditors to handle election records one at a time. The auditors accepted that offer and reviewed records on Thursday, according to Haas and others.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, through a spokesman expressed satisfaction with how the matter was resolved.

“The Senate subpoena successfully compelled the City of Madison to grant auditors access to the records originally requested,” LeMahieu spokesman Adam Gibbs said by email.

Officials from Little Suamico and Milwaukee County also did not allow auditors to handle their ballots. Republicans have not issued subpoenas to review their ballots.

Nonpartisan attorneys for the Legislature have been split on whether Madison’s initial response to the request to handle ballots was appropriate.

Lawyers with the Legislative Council determined the city’s policy was “arguably reasonable” because of the federal guidance. Attorneys with the Legislative Reference Bureau argued state law gives legislative auditors “complete access to all records during an audit investigation.”

Contact Patrick Marley at patrick.marley@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Auditors review Madison’s election records after document dispute