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Judge Will Let Wisconsin Recount Continue, While Trump Supporters Challenge It

Michelle Maternowski
Election workers pour over ballots.

Update, Dec. 2, 4:08 P.M.

A federal court in Madison will not temporarily halt the Wisconsin recount, while opponents challenge it. U.S. District Judge James Peterson will let both the recount and the legal challenge proceed simultaneously. He rejected a motion from Trump supporters to halt the process, stating that there is no harm in allowing the recount to continue. Peterson has scheduled a court hearing on their lawsuit for Dec. 9, just four days before the state's final vote tally is due.   

Update, Dec. 2:

Supporters of President-elect Donald Trump have filed a federal lawsuit, hoping to stop Wisconsin's recount of the presidential vote. The parties involved including the Great America PAC, the Stop Hillary PAC and Wisconsin voter Ronald R. Johnson.

Their federal filing claims the recount threatens the due process rights of people who voted for Trump - he won Wisconsin by 22,000 votes over Clinton, and may result in errors because of the short time frame in which the state must re-tally nearly three-million votes. The recount started Thursday and must be completed by Dec. 13.

Original story:

Hundreds of people packed into a warehouse on Milwaukee’s south side Thursday to watch the state’s first-ever presidential recount begin. Green Party candidate Jill Stein requested the do-over here -- and in Michigan and Pennsylvania. States that Donald Trump won by narrow margins. She says she wants to ensure the integrity of the outcome. We spoke with several people who made time to see the historic recount in person.

When you walk into the Milwaukee Election Commission’s warehouse, you see hundreds of election workers sitting at banquet tables. They thumb through ballots and prepare to load them into voting machines – unless a question arises. Election leaders then announce the issue over the intercom, followed by the decision about what to do with the ballot.

Credit Michelle Maternowski
Richard Sujecki observing the recount.

Richard Sujecki of West Allis thinks he wasted his time a few weeks ago. The retiree worked the polls on Election Day. Now Sujecki has come by to watch other workers, do it all over again.

“We took time to make sure that every vote was counted correctly. If there was a mistake, we corrected the mistakes for the voter and therefore I know the procedure that we went through to make the votes count,” Sujecki says.

Yet, Jonnie Richards of Milwaukee says it doesn’t hurt to double-check, when Republican Donald Trump won Wisconsin by just 22,000 votes.

“I don’t know. It was relatively close so, we’ll just see how it comes out. I think it’s a good thing just to make sure the process is working correctly,” Richards says.

Credit Michelle Maternowski
The recount is underway.

Richards says she stopped by the warehouse because she was curious to see how the first-ever presidential recount in Wisconsin would work. One person observing for the Green Party is Community Activist George Martin of Milwaukee. He dismisses recent criticism that the Green Party is essentially carrying water for Democrat Hillary Clinton, in requesting the recount.

“It’s only natural that we stand for voter integrity in terms of, does our vote count. This isn’t about favoring one candidate over another,” Martin says.

Martin says despite the huge effort that’s going into the recount, he doesn’t think the outcome will change. Neither does David Faulkner, a retired trucker from West Allis. He says he also came by to witness history. Faulkner says he voted for Trump and, unlike many other people, is not surprised the Republican nominee won Wisconsin.

“The reason there was a discrepancy between exit polling and the actual results, is the people who intended to vote for Trump, did vote for Trump and didn’t share it with the news media and some didn’t share it with family members. There was a certain a certain taint, a certain unfavorable light with those people who claimed they liked Trump,” Faulkner says.

The recount on Milwaukee’s south side – of all votes cast in the County is expected to last through the deadline of December 12. The official tally is due the 13th.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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