Wisconsin agrees to recount votes – but rejects Jill Stein’s hand recount request

© Jim Young
Wisconsin Election Commission agreed to a ballot recount of nearly 3 million votes in the state’s presidential election but rejected a Green Party request ordering a hand recount. Jill Stein also officially demanded Pennsylvania's vote recount.

“It is a matter of looking at the ballot and tabulators agreeing on either a hand count to agree what the vote is or examining the ballot and putting it back into the voting equipment,” said Mike Hass, Wisconsin Elections Commission said on Monday during a press conference.

Hass said before that happens a series of steps have to happen first including reconciling election materials like poll lists and absentee ballot materials.

“There are technical and procedural steps they must take to ensure the number of voters that are marked on the poll list as voting matches the numbers of ballots that are being counted.”

The recount may begin as early as Thursday if the state receives payment Tuesday. The Wisconsin Election Commission gave counties until noon Monday to submit estimated costs for the efforts so that Green Party candidate Jill Stein could be billed.

If Stein or Independent candidate Rocky De Le Fuente don’t pay the full costs by Tuesday, no recount will be ordered.

The Commission estimated the recount will take five to six days with many counties expected to be finished in a week, with the more populous ones taking longer. Federal law requires the recount to be completed by December 13.

“This is not Bush v. Gore, it’s a lot different,” Chairman Mark Thomsen said.

“It may not be 22,177,” said Thomsen in reference to the number of Wisconsin votes Trump garnered more than Clinton on November 8. “But I don’t doubt that the president-elect is going to win that.”

RNC communications director Sean Spicer noted that Stein got 33,000 votes in Wisconsin, while Donald Trump got 1.4 million. Clinton had 1,381,823.
“Unless there are 1,370,000+ miscounted votes, this is a stunt,” he added.

By late Monday, the Green Party filed a suit seeking to force clerks to hand-count Wisconsin ballots.

Stein has raised millions of dollars over the last few days to fund a recount in key states where analysts suggest something might be amiss.

Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton’s campaign joined the recount effort. Clinton’s campaign lawyer Marc Elias told The Washington Post the campaign had “not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology” but that it had “quietly taken a number of steps in the last two weeks to rule in or out any possibility of outside interference in the vote tally in these critical battleground states.”

Green Party officials petitioned Wisconsin’s Elections Commission on Friday for a recount, claiming there was “evidence of voting irregularities” without any evidence or proof.

Stein told CNN last Thursday “we saw hacks into voter databases, into party databases, into individual email accounts."

“We know that there were attempts made broadly on state voter databases and we know that we have an election system that relies on a computer system that is wide open to hacks.”

Even if Stein and others succeed in winning recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, it's unclear they would be enough to swing the election from Trump to Hillary Clinton, with Trump holding leads as big as more than 60,000 votes in Pennsylvania. When Florida officials launched their recount in 2000, the margin was just 537 votes.

On Monday afternoon, Green Party candidate Jill Stein filed a petition in Pennsylvania court demanding a recount, claiming there were voting irregularities in the state.

The Green Party also notified the Michigan elections board that it will seek a recount of the president election results. The claim, which will be filed on Wednesday, came on the same day the Board of State Canvassers certified Republican Donald Trump’s 10,704 vote win over Democrat Hillary Clinton out of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast.
Michigan’s recount policy is to count every ballot by hand.