Wisconsin’s first statewide presidential recount found no major problems with the state’s voting system, but it did reveal several errors affecting thousands of ballots that could spur local clerks to tighten procedures, according to a Wisconsin State Journal review of the results. The recount revealed a yawn-inducing shift in the presidential election results — President-elect Donald Trump extended his lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton by 131 votes and total votes increased by about 400 out of nearly 3 million cast. Recount proponents had raised concerns about Russia possibly tampering with election results, but the recount found no evidence to support such claims. However, the small net change in votes obscured that there were thousands of both positive and negative swings in the final totals. At least 9,039 presidential votes weren’t counted correctly on Election Night, and only were added to the official results because of the recount, the State Journal review found. Another 2,161 votes were originally counted but later tossed out for reasons including to square vote totals with the number of voters who signed the poll book.
The more than 11,000 changes to the original vote total represent a minor 0.38 percent error rate out of the nearly 3 million votes counted.
State election officials, who cast the 12-day recount as a complete audit of the state election system at no cost to the public, say the changes are mostly the result of human error, not a problem with the voting equipment.
The analysis found one type of voting machine — the Optech Eagle, which processed about 10.6 percent of the ballots in the state — produced an error rate of 0.8 percent, likely because some voters didn’t comply with instructions to use a certain kind of ink or pencil.