The recount of the Kloppenburg/Prosser State Supreme Court election on April 5th has been going on for more than a week. The recount is due Monday, but the GAB is requesting an extension of that deadline after 2 counties asked for more time.
Dane County, which includes the City of Madison, has requested a one day extension for completion and problem-plagued Waukesha County doesn't seem to have a clue when it will finish.
Here in Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee votes were completed as well as a few of the suburban areas which also required a hand-count of the paper ballots. Hand counting of paper ballots was necessary because the optical scanners were old and new memory cartridges were no longer available. Recounting those ballots by machine would have erased the data on the previous election data so the Government Accountability Board ordered that those ballots be counted by hand.
Machine recounting of the Milwaukee County suburban areas with newer machines that could use a new memory cartridge started yesterday. Milwaukee County is expected to complete their recount by the original deadline.
While the recount procedure is about as thrilling as watching paint dry or grass grow, I did write about it the last time I discussed the recount by hand, so I'll do it again regarding the machine count:
Verify the number of voters
The voter record books (2 identical lists of registered voters are used to "check" in everyone coming to vote) were used to verify the last voter number issued and hand count the total number of voters. The numbers need to match.
Count the number of ballots:
The ballots were removed from sealed ballot bags and the security tag checked (each tag has a number on the tag which is then compared to the number on the bag which should match). They were counted in batches of 25 each (the count verified by being counted by the second election worker) and the total ballots added up.
Machine Count of Ballots:
Those ballots were then fed one by one into an optical scanner to recount the votes. Both the Prosser and Kloppenburg observers had "clickers" (devices which when a small lever was pressed would manually add one count to an ongoing total) to view and manually count the number of votes for their candidate. This would be used to by the candidates recount staff to compare the machine count to the visual count of the votes for each candidate by an eyes-on observer to verify the machine count).
Addition of Touch Screen Ballots:
Following this, the records of the Touch Screen Ballots were added (touch screen machines are available for disabled voters) to the total.
The number of voters and number of ballots were then compared to ensure that there were no discrepancies (e.g more ballots than voters).
I participated in those recounts yesterday and ran into no problems until the election workers went to the machine count. Armed with my "clicker", I was horrified to see them feed the ballots in to the machine so quickly that the vote couldn't even be seen by me, much less counted. A pile was placed just below the ballot intake slot and one ballot after another was fed in as fast as the machine could take it with the ballot being fed in obscuring seeing the ballot below it. When the next ballot was obtained, the fast movement into the machine precluded seeing the vote as the ballot was moved so quickly and sucked into the machine. Since the votes in the Supreme Court election were at the top of the ballot, no visual record could be made.
Being unable to get the attention of a Kloppenburg lawyer, I left to summon one personally. The machine count started so quickly that no observer for Prosser was even present. The lawyer for Kloppenburg, as well as the person in charge of Kloppenburg volunteers were horrified at what was happening and the poll workers agreed to slow down to allow the visual count. While the ballots that had already gone into the machine were not removed and recounted, at least the remainder of the ballots would enable observers to do a visual inspection and count.
The Milwaukee County recount has been relatively free of problems and is expected to finish and submit their data by the Monday deadline. The Kloppenburg camp has had plenty of volunteers, so many, in fact, that people were sent home yesterday and I am not needed today.
Not so much for the Waukesha County recount which have been followed by fellow Kossack Giles Goat Boy. Problem after problem with chain of custody issues, ballot bag tags that don't match the tag number issued election night, as well as other errors have caused Waukesha County to request an extension on their deadline. The Government Accountability Board, in charge of elections, has asked for an estimate on the amount of time needed beyond the Monday deadline. Considering their problem-plagued recount, Waukesha County election officials might be clueless on how much longer it will take.
While we are all hoping that Joanne Kloppenburg can overcome the 7500 vote difference she faced when (2 days after the election showed Kloppenburg leading by just over 200 votes) Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nichlaus "discovered" ballots in the largest city in the county were not included in her election results, it is certainly going to change election results reporting in the future so no further "human errors" will overturn election results. The recount is exposing, at the very least, the incompetence in Waukesha County, if not outright manipulation.
The least we can expect will be better elections and results reporting in the future. For now, all eyes are on what's going on in Waukesha.
Thanks for your interest and support.