This is what a recount looks like: An indoor sports arena is filled with poll workers from every municipality in Milwaukee County, each in their own area. At each station, poll workers examine and count ballots one by one. And as they count, campaign volunteers, attorneys and journalists watch their every move – with the campaign representatives sometimes challenging the poll workers’ decisions – while sheriff’s deputies stand guard.
It could be the biggest show in Wisconsin. And, with a few variations, it opens next week in every county in the state.
Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg sought the statewide recount after final results showed she lost the state Supreme Court race to incumbent Justice David Prosser by more than 7,300 votes. Under a deal reached Thursday in Dane County Circuit Court, ballots will be tallied by hand in all or part of 31 counties and by machine elsewhere.
The hand recount was ordered for places where voting machines could not be used for the recount without erasing their election-night data. Under state Government Accountability Board rules, the recount is handled by municipal clerks operating under the direction of county clerks – or, in Milwaukee, the city and county election commissions. The local clerks will work together in a single location at county expense. Milwaukee is likely to send 30 or 40 staffers, many of them temporary workers, said Neil Albrecht, deputy director of the city Election Commission.