Supreme Court Recount Continues

The third statewide recount in Wisconsin history is now under way.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recount started at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The Government Accountability Board said that, for the most part, things went smoothly around the state, with delays in two counties and plenty of questions.

Challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for the recount last week after final county totals showed incumbent Justice David Prosser with a 7,316-vote lead. The GAB wants the recount done by May 9, but may seek an extension if the process bogs down.

One at a time, Dane County volunteers and clerk staff are counting their way through 158 reporting units, which adds up to 184,000 votes. They have been checking numbers against poll books, matching absentee ballots to their applications and ultimately hand-counting votes for each candidate.

“We’ve got the right amount of people to go through and count them, divide them up, and I think the system is working very well,” said Dane County Clerk Karen Peters.

Observers representing each candidate are watching the process, crunching numbers and keeping a close eye on signatures.

“The Wisconsin statute calls for determining the voter’s intent to the extent the voter intended to vote, and to cast a vote or Justice Prosser or Ms. Kloppenburg,” said Christ Troupis, a representative for incumbent Justice David Prosser. “We want to make sure that vote is counted.”

“It is just to make sure the process goes according to the way that has been laid out by the Supreme Court and the GAB,” said Dianne Greeley, a representative for Kloppenburg. “To make sure that all the votes have been accounted for and recorded.”

The voters for each polling place are counted, and a verdict is given for how accurate the original canvass was. And unless votes are challenged, they go back into bags and to a vault for safe keeping. The counting will continue until the deadline.

“We want to do the best we can, and I think we’ll be pretty energetic on our side right until the end,” said Peters.

Peters said they planned to work until 8 p.m. Wednesday, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until the deadline in an effort to finish on time.

In Waukesha County, the recount started off a little rocky Wednesday after what appeared to be a missing ballot.

It was a ballot that was put in to replace a faulty absentee ballot on Election Day. Officials couldn’t find the ballot, but after taking phone testimony from a poll worker, everyone agreed it probably got mixed up with other ballots that were already counted.

Judge Robert Mawdsley is overseeing the recount process after Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus recused herself. Nickolaus became the center of a controversy a few weeks ago for reporting the wrong vote totals on election night.

Initial returns showed Kloppenburg had defeated Prosser by about 200 votes. But Nickolaus then stepped forward and said she had failed to report 14,000 votes. Those votes flipped the race for Prosser.

The GAB is keeping a blog on its website to keep track of how the recount is progressing. To read the blog, go to this website.