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The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has been planning for a possible recount since election night. The GAB's website includes the messages it has sent to the many election clerks around the state to help them prepare for it. Those messages clear up some of the questions many of us have had about the process.

GAB stresses that it will set uniform standards and its instructions will be consistently applied in conducting the recount throughout the state. All of the counties will be working at the same time. It anticipates starting the recount next week unless a court orders otherwise.

The first order of business for clerks is to "secure and retain intact all memory devices from tabulation voting equipment." However, some clerks have advised the board that they cannot get additional "prom packs" from their suppliers to use for the recount. (This implies that the ballots will not just be recounted exactly the same as on election day.) Here's how the GAB plans to deal with this problem:

We are preparing to file an action in Circuit Court (represented by the Wisconsin Department of Justice) this Thursday, April 21 to seek court relief in some fashion to obtain permission to clear memory devices for reuse during the recount or to conduct a Statewide hand count of all ballots in the recount.

This presents a dilemma for the judge: If an original pack is reprogrammed for the recount and a different total should then result, the pack could no longer be analyzed for evidence to prove criminal election fraud. Of course, a hand recount would be much more expensive. The counties are responsible for the costs of this recount just as for the costs of the election.

The GAB makes this request on its own motion and, if successful, might secure a statewide hand recount without the Kloppenburg campaign having to petition the court for it.

Also note that the GAB will be represented in court by the Department of Justice--that is, by one of JoAnne Kloppenburg's colleagues.

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