Racine County’s recent election history includes multiple tight races that resulted in recounts. The last recount was in the 2012 state Senate recall race, in which John Lehman defeated Van Wanggaard by 819 votes. The recount — the third of three recounts between 2011 and 2012 — cost Racine County taxpayers about $5,400. A proposed state law change would shift more of the cost to the candidates. Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen and the county’s Government Services Committee favor the change, saying it would close the gap between the fees charged to candidates and the county’s actual costs.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin election reports reveal complainants’ violations, find no fraud | Journal Times
The various claims of recall election fraud were found to be baseless, according to sheriff’s investigators’ reports, which revealed no criminal conduct but rather complainants’ own violations. Following the June 5 recalls in which state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, unseated Republican incumbent Van Wanggaard in the 21st Senate District race, multiple allegations of irregularities at area polls had surfaced, followed by prominent state Republicans calling the local efforts “an utter mockery.”
Wisconsin: DA finds no crime in election; GAB responds to state Republicans calling recall ‘utter mockery’ | Journal Times
County investigators have found no evidence of criminal activity after looking into claims of alleged voter fraud at Racine polling places during the June 5 recall election. The Racine County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s office made the announcement via a press release on Friday, stating that they will not be filing charges related to the allegations. The announcement comes after a nearly month-long investigation the two offices the made into four separate complaints of alleged voter fraud. The complaints included allegations of a poll worker soliciting voters, the discovery of suspicious voter registration documents in garbage bin, the mishandling of absentee ballots, and violations involving same-day voter registration procedures. The complaints arose after former state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, defeated state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, in the June 5 recall.
epublican state Sen. Van Wanggaard decided not to go to court to challenge his recall election loss, effectively conceding the race Tuesday to his challenger and giving Democrats at least a temporary majority in the Wisconsin Senate. Wanggaard, of Racine, lost to Democrat John Lehman by 819 votes, or about 1.1 percent of the nearly 72,000 ballots cast. Wanggaard had demanded a recount, which affirmed his loss. That left Wanggaard with two choices: File a challenge by Tuesday or concede the race. His campaign chose not to challenge, clearing the way for state election officials to certify the race Wednesday morning and make the outcome official.
Wisconsin: Racine County Sheriff’s Office finishes investigation into Wisconsin recall election allegations, reports sent to DA | Journal Times
The Racine County Sheriff’s Office has finished its investigation into several June 5 recall election complaints. “All the reports have been turned over to the district attorney,” Racine County Sheriff’s Lt. Steven Sikora said Monday. The sheriff’s office also on Monday turned over its investigation into allegations that a Raymond town supervisor ripped up nomination papers pertaining to a separate Raymond recall, Sikora said. Sikora couldn’t say if the sheriff’s office is recommending charges for any election related complaints. “It’s now in the DA’s hands,” Sikora said. Following the June 5 recall elections, in which former state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, defeated state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, multiple allegations of irregularities at the polls have come up.
A recount has concluded Democrat John Lehman defeated incumbent Republican Van Wanggaard in last month’s state Senate recall races. An official canvas following the June 5 elections showed Lehman leading Wanggaard by 834 votes out of nearly 72,000 ballots cast in Racine County’s 21st Senate District. A Lehman victory would give Democrats a one-seat majority in the Senate. Wanggaard requested a recount, but final tallies from the Racine County clerk’s office Monday showed Lehman with 36,358 votes and Wanggaard with 35,539, a difference of 819 votes.
Wisconsin Democrats moved closer to controlling the state Senate today after a recount showed Democrat John Lehman defeated Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard in last month’s recall elections, though the incumbent said his campaign was pondering a lawsuit challenging the results. A Lehman victory in Racine County’s 21st Senate District would give Democrats a one-seat majority in the chamber until the November elections. Lehman issued a two-sentence statement saying he looks forward to joining his colleagues in the Senate. But Wanggaard refused to concede. “I will spend the next couple of days reviewing the evidence, speaking with voters, supporters, and my family before deciding my next step,” Wanggaard said in a statement.
While Gov. Scott Walker called for more bipartisanship in the wake of his recall victory, a bitter fight over who controls the state Senate threatens any chance at reconciliation as Republicans fight to hold on and Democrats look to extract a victory from the recall season. The closely watched recount of a Republican state senator’s recall election is scheduled to wrap up Monday, but the battle over who will control the chamber for the rest of the year won’t end when the final ballot is tallied. Lawsuits are expected, and would probably drag out the process for weeks or months. “If they continue to try and hold onto this seat, white-knuckled kicking and screaming, it’s going to continue the same partisan battles we’ve been having and that they supposedly wanted to end,” said Democratic state Sen. Chris Larson. An official canvass after the June 5 election showed Democratic challenger John Lehman leading GOP Sen. Van Wanggaard by 834 votes out of nearly 72,000 ballots cast, for a margin of 1.2 percentage points.
State Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, gained a few more votes Tuesday during the sixth day of Racine County’s recall election recount. But the senator still remains well behind his challenger, former state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine. During the June 5 recall election, Republican Gov. Scott Walker overwhelmingly beat Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat. But in Racine County’s 21st Senate District, Lehman led incumbent Wanggaard by 834 votes, according to canvass results. Following the election, Wanggaard requested a recount. Results through Tuesday show Wanggaard has gained 18 votes while Lehman has gained four but lost two, bringing the difference to 818, according to numbers from the Government Accountability Board and Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen. The recount continues today at the Racine County Courthouse, 730 Wisconsin Ave., in the first floor conference room. Tabulators Tuesday finished recounting Mount Pleasant’s results and turned attention to City of Racine wards, Christensen said. Racine poll workers have faced scrutiny for not having some people who registered to vote June 5 also sign poll books as required by law.
The odds of Racine’s recall recount winding up in court increased Tuesday, as Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard’s campaign said it may challenge canvassers’ decision to accept ballots from voters who did not sign the poll book. The recount is in its second week after Wanggaard’s campaign requested canvassers review an 834-vote victory that favored Democratic challenger John Lehman in the June 5 recall. Republicans’ latest contention of voting irregularities in Racine targets election workers who failed to ask voters to sign poll books as required by state law. The Wanggaard campaign also disputes the Government Accountability Board’s recommendation that canvassers accept the votes. Once canvassers certify the recall, the campaign could challenge the recount in court, potentially delaying Democratic control of the state Senate for weeks. The results of the recount will determine whether Republicans keep the majority or if Democrats take control of the Senate between now and the November general election. Since 2011, a new voting law requires that poll workers have voters sign a poll book.
Wisconsin: Some voters didn’t sign poll books, but state officials say votes do count in Wisconsin recall recount | Journal Times
Some Racine voters in the June 5 recall election did not sign poll books as required by law, Republican elections observers said Monday during the fifth day of Racine County’s election recount. But because it’s considered an administrative error, the votes will count, according to the Government Accountability Board. During the June 5 recall election, Republican Gov. Scott Walker overwhelmingly beat Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat. But in Racine County’s 21st Senate District, former state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, led incumbent state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, by 834 votes, according to canvass results. Following the election, Wanggaard requested a recount. But according to the GAB, which is recording recount results by ward, the numbers have not changed significantly. Results through Saturday show Wanggaard gained nine votes and Lehman gained one vote, bringing the difference to 826. And, according to the GAB, Monday’s findings will not change results.
Republican recount observers are raising a red flag over votes cast by residents who registered on election day after pages of missing signatures from same-day voters have been discovered throughout the City of Racine. When someone registers to vote on the day of the election, poll workers take the completed registration form and create an entry in the poll book and then duplicate it in a second poll book. The voter is required to sign their entry in the same book other voters sign their entry in order to cast a ballot — and it’s those signatures that are missing in some wards in the June 5 recall election. It’s not known how many signatures are missing, but Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen said there are entire pages of missing signatures in wards throughout the city. While some of the missing signatures were found on pages other than where they should have been, it is unclear exactly how many have been discovered elsewhere. It’s also unknown why some signatures appear on pages separate from their entries on the poll books.
A painstaking recount began Wednesday in the recall election for a GOP state senator from Racine County, where witnesses and campaign officials watched as tabulators sifted through stacks of ballots and pored over poll records. State Sen. Van Wanggaard requested the recount earlier this month after an official canvass showed him trailing Democratic challenger John Lehman by 834 votes, or 1.2 percent of the nearly 72,000 ballots cast in the June 5 election. The state Senate currently has 16 Democrats and 16 Republicans, so the winner of the 21st District recall race will give his party majority control. However, the power balance could shift anew before the Legislature reconvenes in January, depending on the results of the November election.
A painstaking recount began Wednesday in the recall election for a GOP state senator from Racine County, where witnesses and campaign officials watched as tabulators sifted through stacks of ballots and pored over poll records. State Sen. Van Wanggaard requested the recount earlier this month after an official canvass showed him trailing Democratic challenger John Lehman by 834 votes, or 1.2 percent of the nearly 72,000 ballots cast in the June 5 election. The state Senate currently has 16 Democrats and 16 Republicans, so the winner of the 21st District recall race will give his party majority control. However, the power balance could shift anew before the Legislature reconvenes in January, depending on the results of the November election. On Monday, state election officials ordered the Racine County Board of Canvass to begin the recount. By state law, the board has 13 calendar days from when the order was issued to complete the task. In this case, because that date falls on a Sunday, the board will have until the following day: July 2. Meeting that deadline could be a challenge. Two months ago the same board conducted a recount in a judges’ race that involved fewer than half the number of ballots. That effort stretched into the eighth day. County Clerk Wendy Christensen said she expected the current recount to be time-consuming but was confident the county would meet its deadline. She said the tabulators would work Saturday and take Sunday off, but that they may end up working the following weekend.
Wisconsin: Vos claims that Lehman victory was achieved with “voter fraud” | The Recall Elections Blog
Republican House Rep. Robin Vos is now claiming that John Lehman’s close victory in the Wisconsin Senate recall was due to voter fraud and “illegitimate” because it was under the old district lines. Vos claimed that “Unfortunately a portion of it was fraud.” However, his factual back-up seems embarrassingly iffy for such a significant claim:
“There was no double checking to make sure that people even resided for 28 days,” he added.” I think people came in with same-day registrations and to their credit, I mean that’s just part of the get out the vote effort. But you have to have some sort of ID, in my mind; I think that was another thing that led to the potential for fraud.”
A recount request filed by state Sen. Van Wanggaard was approved Monday by Wisconsin election officials, who ordered Racine County officials to begin reviewing all of the nearly 72,000 ballots cast starting Wednesday, June 20. Wanggaard requested a recount last week, three days after an official canvass showed him trailing Democratic challenger John Lehman by 834 votes. The margin represented 1.2 percent of the 71,868 ballots cast. Democrats had called on the Republican incumbent to concede, saying a recount would only waste taxpayer money and delay the inevitable. But Wanggaard’s campaign said it was concerned about reports of voting irregularities and wanted to ensure the outcome was accurate.
The state Government Accountability Board will order a recount of results, in the 21st state Senate District recall election between incumbent Republican Van Wanggaard and Democratic challenger John Lehman. Government Accountability Board staff attorney Mike Haas says the order for the recount will issued by GAB on Monday, and the Racine County Clerk’s office will begin the process at 9:00 Wednesday morning. “The recount has to be completed within 13 calendar days of the date that we issue the order. After that time there’s an appeal period of five business days, if a candidate wants to appeal to circuit court,” says Haas. Barring an appeal, GAB would then certify the results. Right now, Democrat John Lehman leads Republican incumbent Van Wannggard by 834 votes. Costs of the recount will be borne by the taxpayers of Racine County, although the Wanggaard campaign did pay a fee $685 when the petition requesting the recall was filed with GAB.
Wisconsin state GOP. Sen. Van Wanggaard asked elections officials Friday for a recount in his recall race, the outcome of which will decide the majority party in the state Senate. An official canvass this week showed the Racine Republican trailing his Democratic challenger by 834 votes, or 1.2 percent. Democrats had called on Wanggaard to concede, saying a recount would only delay their inevitable and waste taxpayer money. But Wanggaard’s campaign said it was concerned about possible reports of voting irregularities, and said it wanted to ensure the outcome was accurate.
Wisconsin: Canvass affirms Lehman recall victory for Wisconsin Senate; Wanggaard yet to concede | JSOnline
An official count Tuesday determined that Democrat John Lehman indeed won the Senate recall election in Racine, but Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard has yet to concede and is considering a recount, leaving the issue of Senate majority undecided. The seat’s ownership, and Democrats’ control of the Senate, remained an open question after the June 5 recall election. Racine County’s Board of Canvassers said Tuesday the final vote tally is 36,351 to 35,517, yielding an 834-vote victory in Lehman’s favor. The canvassers’ official tally put Lehman an additional 55 votes ahead of last week’s unofficial findings because one polling place did not report votes from a touch-screen polling machine, Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen said. Lehman, who declared victory the morning after the election, said the board’s findings reinforced his confidence in the win. Lehman is a former senator who lost to Wanggaard in the November 2010 election.
Wisconsin Democrats moved ahead Wednesday with plans for running the state Senate, even though the crucial recall contest they say handed them a one-seat majority remained too close to call. At a news conference, Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller of Monona said he is the new majority leader and has already spoken with Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald about the transition, dismissing the possibility that incumbent GOP Sen. Van Wanggaard might seek a recount. “We look forward to opening up the governmental process to the public,” Miller said. Fitzgerald said Miller’s stance is premature. Democrats forced Wanggaard, Fitzgerald and two other GOP senators into recalls as payback for supporting Gov. Scott Walker’s divisive policies. One of the senators resigned rather than defend her seat, creating a 16-16 split between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats had to win only one of the contests Tuesday to seize control of the chamber; Republicans cruised to wins for three of the seats but had to win all four to retake a majority.
There may be a glimmer of good news for Wisconsin Democrats despite last night’s convincing win by Republican Scott Walker in the recall race for governor. After a vote tabulation glitch in Racine County, Democrat John Lehman appears to have come out on top in a state Senate recall that late Tuesday night looked as if it was going the way of incumbent Republican Van Wanggard. The margin is less than 1,000 votes, and Wanggard has yet to concede though Lehman, who held the seat until 2010, declared victory. It’s only one seat, but that’s enough for now to flip control of the state Senate from the GOP to Democrats, a change that could in theory make things harder for Walker to impose his conservative agenda in Madison.
Control of the Wisconsin Senate looked to have flipped to the Democrats early Wednesday, pending a recount in the closely-fought recall election. Preliminary results cited by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggested former Democratic senator John Lehman defeated GOP incumbent Van Wanggaard by less than 800 votes. Republicans had held on to the three other state Senate seats in Tuesday’s recall voting. Wanggaard’s campaign manager Justin Phillips hinted a recount could be called, in a statement issued early Wednesday. “We owe it to all of Senator Wanggaard’s supporters and the voters of Wisconsin to thoroughly examine the election and its results and act accordingly once we have all of the information,” Phillips said.
Voting Blogs: Walker, most other Republicans reportedly survive Wisconsin recall elections | The Brad Blog
“It was a great demonstration of democracy, whether you agree or disagree with the outcome,” Huffington Post’s political reporter Howard Fineman told Ed Schultz on MSNBC late tonight, while discussing the results of the historic Wisconsin recall elections. Fineman’s comment is either accurate or it is not. Just as the results reported by the computers across the Badger State are either accurate or not. Who knows? Nobody in WI does, and that’s exactly the problem. The early Exit Poll results had reportedly predicted the race between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett a virtual tie, leading media to plan for a long night tonight. A second round of Exit Polls results, however, were said to have given Walker a broader lead over Barrett. Even so, we were told, the race based on the Exit Poll data alone was still “too close to call.” That data was either accurate or it was not.
In a crucial election that swings control of the state Senate to the Democrats, Racine County appeared to have ousted current state Sen. Van Wanggaard Tuesday. Former state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine leads state incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard, with 36,255 votes to Wanggaard’s 35,476 votes, according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting. Three Republicans won state Senate races Tuesday in Wisconsin, but with Lehman winning Racine County, the Democrats will take control of the Senate and gain the 17-16 majority. Lehman declared victory shortly before 1 a.m.