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Wisconsin Vote Recount Begins Tomorrow

The ballot recount in Wisconsin could expose problems in the system. (razihusin/iStockphoto)
The ballot recount in Wisconsin could expose problems in the system. (razihusin/iStockphoto)
November 30, 2016

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin has unique rules about ballot recounts, and in the Badger State there will be separate recounts in each of the 72 counties. Each county clerk will conduct the official recount, which must be completed by the federal deadline of Dec. 13.

Of nearly three million votes cast in the state, Donald Trump leads by roughly 27,000, as it stands now.

Matt Rothschild, executive director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said the recount could resolve some discrepancies.

"One county clerk had more people voting for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump than the total number of people who actually voted; I don't know how they can square those two things," he said. "Let's give people confidence that the voting apparatus is working appropriately, and make sure that we had an accurate count."

The Wisconsin Elections Board has ordered the recount be completed by Dec. 12, and set the cost at three-and-a-half million dollars for the overtime and weekend work required by the county clerks and staff. That's being paid, not by taxpayers, but by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who called it "exorbitant." Stein is also involved in potential recounts in two other contested states, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Under Wisconsin's rules, this first-ever presidential ballot recount in state history is public. While news reporters and interested citizens are allowed to watch, only certified election officials in each county can actually touch the ballots. Rothschild said the process should reveal useful information.

"We may learn where the problems lie or where potential problems lie, where vulnerabilities are, either human vulnerabilities or mechanical machinery vulnerabilities, and those are important things to know," he explained.

According to Rothschild, one huge factor in the election that a recount will not address is voter suppression. He said there's no reliable way to get an accurate count of how many people were discouraged or affected by the state's new Voter ID laws.

"People who had proper credentials and for some reason were not given the opportunity to vote; and then there were discouraged people, people who just said, 'Well, there are just too many hurdles for me to clear here, so just forget about it,'" he added.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI