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Wisconsin Supreme Court Recount Begins Today, Counties To Bear The Burden

Monday, April 25th, 2011 at 5:24 am

The statewide recount in the Supreme Court race between conservative Justice David Prosser and his liberal challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg begins today. The state’s Government Accountability Board will hold a teleconference with county officials this afternoon to go over details of the recount. But until then, local clerks remain in the dark about the price tag and the procedures.

The recount is the first involving a statewide race in more than 20 years and thus the first for many county clerks. The Associated Press reports that some clerks are also understaffed to handle such an endeavor, which could elongate the process.

Kloppenburg requested the recount last Wednesday, with Prosser currently ahead in the count by a 7,300-vote lead in the statewide race. The margin between the two is less than 0.5 percent of the 1.5 million votes cast in the April 5 election; slim enough that each of the state’s 72 counties, rather than Kloppenburg, will pay for their recounts.

Many counties didn’t plan on a recount when budgeting, and thus will need to request money from their county’s contingency funds to pay for employee wages, possible reprogramming of election equipment and copying costs.

Kloppenburg has requested a recount by hand, which likely would be more expensive than running ballots through a machine. For example, officials in Milwaukee County released an estimate that a recount there could cost as much as $500,000. Obviously, smaller counties like the ones in our listening area, will spend significantly less.

By the way, no deadline has been set for when the recount must be complete.

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