The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported its analysis found the total reported for the city could be tens of thousands of voters higher than the number that actually cast ballots.
For example, the city reported that there were 78,801 ballots cast for the major-party candidates for attorney general.
But adding the votes cast for the two Republican and two Democratic candidates gave a total of only 40,971, the newspaper said. That would indicate 37,830 voters did not cast ballots in that race, which would be highly unlikely for one of the most hotly contested elections on Tuesday's ballot.
The Sentinel reported that the exact same number of voters were counted at polling places across the city — which it said is a "red flag" that the results were bogus. Four of Milwaukee's wards came in with turnouts inexplicably higher than 100 percent – the highest had a turnout of 145.4 percent.
The city didn't meet a deadline of 4 p.m. Wednesday to turn in its polling lists and voter information to the Milwaukee County Election Commission.
Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the state Elections Board, said it appeared that a computer programming problem resulted in the inaccurate totals.
He said the city should re-examine the totals using polling-place records and make sure no outcome was affected.
The figure must be corrected, he said.
"I need to know, by law, how many voters there were," Kennedy said.