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Wisconsin Recount Confirms Trump's Win, Gives Him 131 More Votes

Marti Mikkelson
Election workers sift through ballots in Waukesha County on Wednesday.

Update, Dec. 12 3:30 P.M.

The Wisconsin Election Commission has certified the state's recount of its presidential election and reports that Republican Donald Trump actually won the state with 131 more votes than the initial tally indicated. The recount also indicated that there were no major flaws that affected the Wisconsin count, although workers did have to toss or change hundreds of votes because of errors detected.

George Martin, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Green Party thanked the county clerks and workers who undertook the huge task of recounting nearly three million votes but added that the party will review what the recount revealed and release a report in January. Martin says he still lacks full confidence in the voting and scanners counties use across Wisconsin and would recommend forensic testing before and after each election. 

Update, Dec. 12: 

With nearly all of Wisconsin's ballots recounted, Republican Donald Trump's margin of victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton has decreased by about 25 votes. The state elections commission will soon certify the results from the presidential recount that started here Dec.1, because they are due on Tuesday.

Wisconsin ended up being the only one of three states that conducted a recount as requested and paid for by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Courts blocked recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states that also produced narrow margins of victory for Trump. He won Wisconsin's election by about 22,000 votes out of nearly three-million cast.

Original story, Dec. 8:

Listen to Marti Mikkelson's December 8 update on the Wisconsin recount.

Nearly three dozen Wisconsin counties have finished their recounts, and Milwaukee and Waukesha counties could join that list by the weekend. At the start of the presidential recount last week, some feared they would not meet the December 12 deadline. So far, both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have added votes, but Trump maintains his lead.

Susan Hitchler of Oconomowoc has been closely watching election workers at the Waukesha County Courthouse, to make sure they don’t move too slowly. Hitchler has been observing the recount process for the Waukesha County Republican Party with the December 12th deadline in mind.

“There’s a time limit to get this finished and there are consequences if that doesn’t happen. So, is somebody slowing down the process, is somebody talking too much and not working, is somebody taking way too long to finish counting, we could have a problem then,” Hitchler says.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Novack says the recount was moving slowly at first, but then she rented a heavy-duty voting machine from a company in Nebraska. It arrived Monday. Now the counting in this tiny room seems to be humming along, as workers load the ballots into the high speed tabulator sitting at the front of the room.

“That’s really something that’s been invaluable to speeding up and keeping us on schedule, but we’ve really shot well past it,” Novack says.

Novack says voters cast nearly a quarter-million votes in Waukesha County and the new machine is able to count 5,000 votes per hour. So if workers continue counting from 9 am until midnight each day, she expects to finish Waukesha County’s recount by the weekend. And Novack adds, there have been very few discrepancies so far - the recount has produced pretty much the same tabulation as the initial tally on Election Night.

“It’s just gone incredibly,” Novack says.

One person not surprised that counties are making good progress is Reid Magney of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

“We know that the county clerks and the municipal clerks take their jobs seriously. It’s not easy getting all the work done in such a short period of time but they’re clerks and they know how to put their nose to the grindstone and get the work done,” Magney says.

Magney says he’s confident all 72 counties will finish on time. He says so far, the recount has shown the major party candidates increasing their totals by a few hundred votes, with Donald trump still in the lead.

The biggest discrepancy, according to Magney, has been in Marinette County where more than 300 absentee voters didn’t use the correct writing utensils to cast their ballots – some used a red marker rather than a pencil. The local election commission has discarded those votes.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.
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