Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Election Recount is Sparring Match

Michael Cerkas's picture

The controversial political offspring known as the election recount process that was born of Election Tuesday, April 5 in Wisconsin has reached adolescence and can be similarly characterized as emotional, challenging and a project.

To date, the recount process in 71 of 72 counties is complete. With the exception of Waukesha County, the current recount vote totals are 709,116 for Prosser and 728,563 for Kloppenburg. This represents a 19,447 vote lead for challenger Kloppenburg. The recount vote totals compared to the initial vote tally on election day canvassing, result in a net vote gain of 348 for Prosser and 667 for Kloppenburg. This equates to an error rate of .05% for Prosser and .09% for Kloppenburg.

The initial vote tally for just Waukesha County was 43,555 for Prosser and 17,111 for Kloppenburg, resulting in a 26,444 vote advantage for Prosser. Using the above error rates to extrapolate a representative recount vote change in Waukesha County, an hypothetical tally would then be 22 votes for Prosser and 15 votes for Kloppenburg.

Simple math indicates that if the existing Waukesha County vote tally would remain intact, the adjusted vote tally from recount would be 752,671 for Prosser and 745,674 for Kloppenburg. This result translates into a 6,997 vote Prosser victory, representing 50.23% of the total vote count.

Recount Proved to be a Challenging Endeavor
The recount process has progressed, but not without contentious challenges from the attorneys representing challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, who had given her victory speech the day after the election, only to learn the following day she was behind roughly 7,000 votes after it was determined that ballots from the city of Brookfield, near Milwaukee, had never been submitted to the state election headquarters for inclusion in the state election vote tally.

Although a Wisconsin judge had declared May 26 as the deadline for the recount process to be completed, according to Waukesha County Corporation Counsel Tom Farley, canvassing is ahead of schedule with expected completion to be either Friday, May 20 or Monday, May 23.

From the beginning of the recount process, more than 500 challenges have been made by the legal team representing JoAnne Kloppenburg, regarding the condition and recording of ballot bags just in Waukesha County. Almost without exception, they were dismissed.

The strategy of the Kloppenburg legal team exclusively focuses on their attempt to have as many ballot bags as possible in Waukesha County declared ineligible. The initial election results in Waukesha County heavily favored incumbent David Prosser.

Watch partial video coverage of the recount process as it occurred in Waukesha County:

Interestingly, an analysis of the recount voter tally data, broken down by county and ward within each county, reveals there were 151 wards across 20 counties that submitted zero votes in the election for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. The counties (and # of wards) without any votes included:
• Bayfield (1)
• Calumet (2)
• Chippewa (1)
• Dane (31)
• Dodge (2)
• Fond du Lac (18)
• Jefferson (2)
• Juneau (1)
• Kenosha (31)
• La Crosse (2)
• Marathon (31)
• Milwaukee (1)
• Oconto (1)
• Outagamie (11)
• Rock (1)
• Sheboygan (6)
• Walworth (1)
• Washington (1)
• Waukesha (2)
• Winnebago (5)

You can view the latest updates and download current voter recount data at the State of Wisconsin - Government Accountability Board website.

Image credit: AmericanGlob.com

You can reach Michael Cerkas via email at mcerkas@gmail.com


Although the result may simply substantiate the initial results, considering the nature and significance of the position and of the race, the legalities of the election process involving a recount were created exactly for this scenario. Further, the recount process will hopefully verify and support the integrity of the process in Wisconsin and serve to emblazon confidence in the political process rather than diminish it. Conversely, the recount may identify changes that need to be made to ensure the integrity of the process moving forward. Bottom line, case specific, I do not believe this recount effort to be a waste of taxpayer money, but rather, an investment that will earn the future support of Wisconsin voters and citizens.

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