Nov 26, 2016

Recounts in Wisconsin and Two States Go Forward

Jill Stein campaign's check on election integrity is successful
Updated - Clinton campaign attentive to concerns animating recount, vows to take part in recount effort, reports Reuters. Damn well better.
Recount petitions addressing the presidential general election in Wisconsin were received today by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, reports Steve Hanson in the Uppity Wisconsin political site.

The Jill Stein and Rocky Roque De La Fuente 2016 presidential campaigns have both filed recount petitions in Wisconsin. Recount petitions are expected to be filed in Michigan and Pennsylvania next week.

Opposition to the Jill Stein recount petition, paid by the Stein campaign supporters, has come from Wisconsin Republicans and some liberal political sites editorially supportive of, [see update above], but separate from, the Hillary Clinton campaign.

As noted in the Wisconsin Elections Commission website, Wisconsin is composed of 72 counties that will be the authorities for the recount. Municipalities in the counties will conduct the actual processes, with the state Commission offering logistical, legal, and other support in a partnership capacity.

Wisconsin recount information, governing Wisconsin state statute, and ARTICLE III, Suffrage (voting) text in the Wisconsin Constitution are indicated and explained in updated online Wisconsin public websites, in accordance with Wisconsin's historic open-government commitment and the Wisconsin Idea.The Wisconsin Elections Commission Board (formerly the GAB) 2015-2016 calendar is also online.

From the Wisconsin Elections Commission website, a press release announcing the recount petitions and the current popular votes for president are posted.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Receives Two Presidential Election Recount Petitions

Date: November 25, 2016

MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Elections Commission today received two recount petitions from the Jill Stein for President Campaign and from Rocky Roque De La Fuente, Administrator Michael Haas announced.

“The Commission is preparing to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for President of the United States, as requested by these candidates,” Haas said.

“We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice,” Haas said. “We plan to hold a teleconference meeting for county clerks next week and anticipate the recount will begin late in the week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee, which we are still calculating.”

The last statewide recount was of the Supreme Court election in 2011.  At that time, the Associated Press surveyed county clerks and reported that costs to the counties exceeded $520,000, though several counties did not respond to the AP’s survey.  That election had 1.5 million votes, and Haas said the Commission expects the costs to be higher for an election with 2.975 million votes.  “The Commission is in the process of obtaining cost estimates from county clerks so that we can calculate the fee which the campaigns will need to pay before the recount can start,” Haas said.  The Commission will need to determine how the recount costs will be assessed to the campaigns.

The state is working under a federal deadline of December 13 to complete the recount. As a result, county boards of canvassers may need to work evenings and weekends to meet the deadlines. “The recount process is very detail-oriented, and this deadline will certainly challenge some counties to finish on time,” Haas said.  

A recount is different than an audit and is more rigorous, Haas explained.  More than 100 reporting units across the state were randomly selected for a separate audit of their voting equipment as required by state law, and that process has already begun.  Electronic voting equipment audits determine whether all properly-marked ballots are accurately tabulated by the equipment.  In a recount, all ballots (including those that were originally hand counted) are examined to determine voter intent before being retabulated. In addition, the county boards of canvassers will examine other documents, including poll lists, written absentee applications, rejected absentee ballots, and provisional ballots before counting the votes.

Haas noted that the Commission’s role is to order the recount, to provide legal guidance to the counties during the recount, and to certify the results.  If the candidates disagree with the results of the recount, the law gives them the right to appeal in circuit court within five business days after the recount is completed.  The circuit court is where issues are resolved that may be discovered during the recount but are not resolved to the satisfaction of the candidates.

“Wisconsin has the most decentralized election system in the United States,” Haas said. “The system has strong local control coupled with state oversight, resting on the partnership between the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the 72 county clerks, and the 1,854 municipal clerks. State law clearly gives each county’s Board of Canvassers the primary authority to conduct the recount, and to decide which ballots should and should not be counted.  Recounting votes is an open, transparent process in which each of the candidates may have representatives present to raise objections, and where the public may be present to observe.” ...

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