© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Discussion in Wisconsin about How its Presidential Recount will Proceed

Update, Nov. 29, 10:10 P.M.

Dane County Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn will not mandate a hand recount of presidential ballots in Wisconsin. Therefore Wisconsin clerks can decide how their counties will recount their ballots, whether by hand or computer. The judge has determined that attorneys representing Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein have not provided evidence that voting machines here were likely tampered with, necessitating a hand recount. Stein had wanted the ballots checked, by hand, not just re-fed into machines.    

Update, Nov. 29, 5:55 P.M.

A Dane County circuit judge has given Hillary Clinton permission to join the lawsuit demanding a hand recount of Wisconsin's presidential vote. Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn made the decision without commenting late Tuesday. The judge is listening to arguments about whether Wisconsin should review its presidential tally by hand or by computer. Attorneys for the state Dept. of Justice are arguing that there is no evidence that problems exist with Wisconsin's tabulating equipment. Lawyers for Stein contend that voting machines are vulnerable to cyber attacks.   

Update, Nov. 29, 4:45 P.M.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein wired $3.5 million to the state of Wisconsin late Tuesday afternoon, guaranteeing the state will recount its presidential vote.  Now, a court will determine whether the recount must occur by hand or by computer.

Earlier Thursday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission estimated the final tab at $3.9 million, but because it initially gave Stein the lower figure, she will have more time to pay the full cost.

The recount is scheduled to begin Thursday morning in all 72 Wisconsin counties.

Original Nov. 29 story:

County clerks across Wisconsin are gearing up for the state’s first-ever presidential recount. It was scheduled to start on Thursday, but a new development could delay the proceedings. Green Party Candidate Jill Stein had asked the court to require a hand recount, which yesterday the Wisconsin Elections Commission rejected. Stein then filed a lawsuit, arguing that a hand-count would not be as time-consuming as feared, and that it is the only way to ensure that results of the election are accurate.

If she loses the lawsuit, each county will decide for itself whether to conduct a manual recount or to re-feed ballots into voting machines.

Stein requested the recount in Wisconsin, where only 22,000 votes separate Donald Trump from Hillary Clinton. Independent candidate Rocky De La Fuente also asked for a recount. Stein or De La Fuente -- or a combination of the two -- will have to cover the costs, estimated at $3.5 million.

Stein has been raising money for the process, and is expected to also ask for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. She says she doesn’t think there’s been fraud, but wants to ensure the results are accurate.

Milwaukee County Clerk Joe Czarnezki will oversee the tabulation here.

“That will involve opening each one of the sealed ballot bags and having election inspectors insert those ballots into the scanner tabulators the electors used on Election Day to cast their ballots. Then each ballot will be re-tabulated and recounted,” he says.

Wisconsin voters cast nearly 3 million ballots for president. Of those, nearly a half-million were cast in Milwaukee County. Czarnezki says dozens of people will participate in the recount. They will include his staff and workers from 19 municipal clerks’ offices throughout the county, in addition to experienced poll workers.

Similar processes will be underway in all of the state’s 72 counties. Czarnezki says voters and others will be able to watch the recount, while law enforcement will also be on hand.

“We will have observers from three political parties, the Republicans, the Democrats and the Green Party will be observing, also the media and the public can observe the recount process. We will have the Sheriff’s Department providing security for the ballots 24 hours a day throughout the recount so there will not be any question about the integrity of the recount process,” he says.

Czarnezki says he expects TV cameras to be rolling. He says the recount will be conducted at a single location, yet to be determined, and predicts the procedure to take the entire 12 days allotted.

Then, the county will submit its results to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Its spokesman Reid Magney says he doesn’t think the recount will move the needle much.

“Hopefully this will finally put to bed these rumors that are out there, that the machines might be hacked or there’s some kind of problem, it’s baloney,” Magney says.

He notes the last time Wisconsin conducted a statewide recount was in 2011, in the race between state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and challenger Joanne Kloppenburg.

“In the recount in 2011, we had 1.5 million votes and I think only about 300 votes changed,” Magney says.

Magney insists Wisconsin’s election system is secure. So does Gov. Walker. He defended the integrity of the vote in a Facebook post on Monday.

The Elections Commission will have until the afternoon of Dec. 13 to certify the recount. If candidates disagree with the results, they will have five business days to appeal in circuit court.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
Related Content