It’s going to cost Wisconsin’s taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $1 million to find out who will be the next state Supreme Court justice. Assistant attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg on Wednesday said she will seek a full, statewide recount of the April 5 election in which she is challenging Justice David Prosser for a 10-year term on the bench.
“There are two reasons for this recount,” she said. “One is to verify the outcome. The other is to restore the public trust in the electoral process.”
Based on the canvassed vote totals from all 72 Wisconsin counties, Prosser is winning by 7,316 votes, from about 1.5 million cast.
The difference in totals is within the 0.5 percent margin that triggers an automatic recount with the taxpayers paying the tab, according to state law. With margins above 0.5 percent, the candidate pays for the recount. Prosser’s margin of victory is 0.48 percent.
The Pew Center for the States reported in November that statewide recount efforts in Minnesota and Washington state cost an average of 15 cents to 30 cents per ballot. Based on that formula, a full statewide recount effort in this race would cost between $225,000 and $450,000.
And last week, Milwaukee County elections deputy administrator Suzette Emmer said a recount in her county alone could cost as much as $500,000 because of programming costs for voting machines and reimbursement to municipal clerks for their assistance.
But Kevin Kennedy, director of the Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, said last week that a statewide recount would cost more than $1 million.