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The recount begins in St. Croix County

Hudson resident Dianne Kiel checks in with town of Richmond resident Donna Preece on Friday during the presidential recount at the St. Croix County Government Center. At right is town of Somerset resident and Board of Canvassers member Scott Nordstrand. Hillary Clinton campaign supporter Janice Nowling (far right) observes the process. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Mike Longaecker)1 / 3
Ballots are sorted and examined Friday during the presidential recount at the St. Croix County Government Center in Hudson. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Mike Longaecker)2 / 3
Canvassers and observers packed the St. Croix County Board room Friday during the presidential recount process. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Mike Longaecker)3 / 3

The bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission met earlier this week and unanimously approved a timeline and procedures for responding to the two recount petitions from the Jill Stein for President Campaign and from Rocky Roque De La Fuente.

“There has been a great deal of public and media interest in the recount, as well as a great deal of misinformation,” said Commission Administrator Michael Haas. “To ensure that everyone knows what is happening, we will be issuing regular news releases as needed.”

At its meeting Monday morning, the Commission approved the following timeline, which allowed for the recount to begin in earnest in area counties on Tuesday, Dec. 6:

  • Monday, November 28:  Cost estimates and vote tabulation method provided by county clerks to WEC by noon.  WEC provides estimated statewide costs to both the Stein and De La Fuente campaigns by close of business.
  • Tuesday, November 29:  Stein and/or De La Fuente campaign submits payment to WEC.  Once full payment is received by either campaign, the WEC will issue a recount order to all presidential candidates.
  • Wednesday, November 30:  WEC staff will hold a teleconference for all county clerks and canvass members to go over the recount rules and processes.  The teleconference is tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. and will be held via webinar.  Invitation instructions will be sent out next week to all county clerks.  A 24-hour public meeting notice is required for the recount and therefore each county should post their notice by this date.
  • Thursday, December 1:  Recount begins in all Wisconsin Counties.  A 24-hour public meeting notice is required.
  • Monday, December 12:  County canvass boards need to be completed by 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 13:  WEC staff will prepare the official recount canvass certification by 3 p.m.

In addition, the Commission approved a motion to direct staff to provide the estimated recount fee, including any valid State costs, to the petitioning candidates on Monday, November 28, 2016, for payment due at the close of business on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.  The Commission further directed staff to assess the full estimated recount fee to both petitioning candidates unless the candidates each submit payment for one-half of the total estimated cost by the close of business on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.

The presidential election recount began in earnest in St. Croix County on Dec. 6. (Mike Longaecker photo)The Commission also took action on the Stein campaign’s request that the recount be conducted entirely by hand instead of by equipment, unanimously passing the following motion: “The Commission directs staff to decline the Stein campaign request to order counties to tally all ballots by hand, and to permit each county to determine whether ballots will be counted by hand or using tabulating equipment, consistent with existing state law.” 

In order for there to be a statewide hand-count, the Stein campaign would need to obtain a court order, Haas said.

Finally, the Commission directed staff to notify municipal clerks who have been selected to conduct an audit of their electronic voting equipment to delay completion of that audit until after completion of the recount.

Video from Wisconsin Eye’s coverage of the Commission meeting and news conference is available online:

The Commission’s role in a recount 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’s Recount Manual and comprehensive information about past recounts, including the last statewide recount in the 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court election, are available here: