A proposal to limit election recounts that’s up for a hearing Wednesday would have prevented Jill Stein’s Wisconsin recount and increased public trust in the election system, one Republican lawmaker said. “We need to make sure people aren’t using elections as a political tool,” the bill’s author, Sen. Devin LeMahieu, said at a Senate Committee on Elections and Utilities hearing. The bill from LeMahieu and GOP Rep. Ron Tusler would only allow candidates in statewide elections who trail the leading candidate by 1 percent or less of the total number of votes to petition for a recount. Had the bill been in place in November, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who lost to Republican Donald Trump by a margin of less than 1 percent in Wisconsin, would have been able to petition for a recount. But not Stein. She came in fourth but raised more than $3.5 million to fund Wisconsin’s recount. The state’s election commission later refunded Stein $1.5 million after costs were less than estimated.
The final cost of Wisconsin’s presidential recount will likely be about half of what was estimated. Seventy-one of the state’s 72 counties have reported their final recount costs to the state Elections Commission. The total is about $1.8 million. Last month, estimates from counties projected the cost of the recount to be about $3.8 million. Reid Magney, spokesman for the Elections Commission, said the overestimates were likely due to counties being “cautious” about the expense. “I think they probably, not knowing exactly what it would cost, wanted to make sure that their costs would be covered,” Magney said.
Wisconsin: Jill Stein: $1.5 million refund could pay for new voter advocacy group | Wisconsin State Journal
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein said a roughly $1.5 million refund from the Wisconsin recount could go toward a new voter advocacy effort in the state. Stein, who received about 1 percent of the vote and gained 66 votes in the recount, held a rally Tuesday at the state Capitol to address the results of the state’s historic recount, which her campaign paid $3.5 million to initiate, and launch Count My Vote Wisconsin. … Stein’s campaign raised more than $7 million in a short period to fund recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Only the Wisconsin recount made it past court challenges seeking to halt all three.
Wisconsin’s presidential recount, which produced very few changes to the Election Night tally, will end up costing far less than the original $3.9 million estimate. With 69 of the 72 counties reporting, the actual cost is a little more than $1.8 million – about half the original estimate, according to data provided to FOX6 News by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Kenosha, Brown and Pierce counties have not yet reported, but Elections Administrator Mike Haas said he expects their final numbers this week. Combined, clerks in the three counties had expected the recount to cost them around $500,000.CLICK HERE to view the election recount estimates, actual cost
Wisconsin: Recount found thousands of errors, but no major flaws in state election system | Wisconsin State Journal
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.
Finalizing the outcome of the presidential election in Wisconsin proved difficult this year, with the state thrust into a national battle over recounting the results. Despite finishing fourth in the state’s presidential vote, Green Party nominee Jill Stein requested the recount Thanksgiving week. Stein campaign manager David Cobb said it was needed to give voters confidence in the outcome of the election – won by Republican President-elect Donald Trump. “We are not interested in trying to change the result of the election,” Cobb said. “We are interested in verifying the results of the election, and to ensure that there’s integrity.” The request came amid questions about possible Russian interference in the presidential election, and concerns that technology used to cast ballots on Election Day could have been “hacked” to change the outcome. While Stein’s campaign presented experts who explained how that could have happened, the campaign did not provide any actual evidence of outside interference.
Wisconsin: Jill Stein Says She’s Not Satisfied With Wisconsin Presidential Recount | Wisconsin Public Radio
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said Tuesday she is dissatisfied with Wisconsin’s presidential recount. On a call with reporters, Stein decried the use of machines in Wisconsin’s recount, which ended Monday, as well as the cost of the re-tallying. Stein expressed concern that Milwaukee County, in particular, used machines in its recount. “This was essentially a recount that looked everywhere except in the areas of greatest risk,” Stein said. “I think there’s enormous evidence that when you’re looking for the bank robber, you’ve got to look around the bank and I think unfortunately that’s what was avoided in the Wisconsin recount.” Stein requested a hand recount in all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, but was denied by the state Elections Commission and a subsequent court decision. State law empowers county elections officials to choose whether to use machines as they conduct their recount.
Wisconsin: Completed Wisconsin recount widens Donald Trump’s lead by 131 votes | Wisconsin State Journal
Wisconsin’s historic presidential recount ended Monday resulting in a net gain of 131 votes for President-elect Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Wisconsin Elections Commission said. Trump added 844 votes to his total for the Nov. 8 election, while Clinton added 713. Overall, the commission said, voters cast 2.976 million ballots. The recount resulted in a net increase of 837 ballots. “Completing this recount was a challenge, but the real winners are the voters,” Elections Commission Chairman Mark Thomsen said in a statement after signing off on the statewide results. “Based on the recount, they can have confidence that Wisconsin’s election results accurately reflect the will of the people, regardless of whether they are counted by hand or by machine.” The last statewide recount, in a 2011 Supreme Court race, resulted in a net change of 312 votes for the top two candidates out of 1.5 million ballots cast.
Wisconsin: Judge Rules Against Attempt To Halt Wisconsin Presidential Recount | Wisconsin Public Radio
A federal judge has ruled against an attempt to halt Wisconsin’s presidential recount. Judge James Peterson denied the request from two super PACs that supported President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign Friday morning. “It’s crystal clear to me that I don’t have the basis to stop the recount,” Peterson said. “The recount looks like it’s going as the state said: smoothly.” The lawsuit claimed Wisconsin’s recount violates equal protection requirements, puts the state at risk of missing a federal elections reporting deadline and may cast doubt on the legitimacy of Trump’s victory.
A U.S. judge in Wisconsin on Friday rejected a request by President-elect Donald Trump supporters to stop a recount of election votes while the Michigan Supreme Court denied an appeal by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to restart the state’s recount. The results of the Nov. 8 election have been challenged in three states by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who finished fourth in the presidential poll. In Pennsylvania, the third state, a judge said he would rule on Monday on whether to allow a recount to go forward. Even if the recounts were carried out, they would be extremely unlikely to change the outcome of Trump’s win over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by more than 22,000 votes in the state. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested the recount to determine if election machines were hacked. Two pro-Trump groups, the Great America PAC and the Stop Hillary PAC, filed a federal lawsuit Dec. 1, the day the recount began, seeking to stop the process. Judge James Peterson has scheduled a hearing Friday in Madison.
We’re one week into the historic Wisconsin recount, prompted in no small part by widespread concerns about the reliability of electronic voting machines and their susceptibility to tampering, fraud, and computer hacking. The difference in Wisconsin is currently about 22,000 votes, or 0.75%. Patriotic, democracy-loving Americans share a common value of wanting to see that every vote is counted fairly, accurately, and honestly, especially in such a close and crucial election as this one. Let’s get to know these machines better. The optical scanning computers used in Wisconsin and other states, especially the infamous ES&S DS-200, too often fail to count votes where voter intent could be discerned by hand. These are officially called “undervotes” or “overvotes,” but in many instances could be called “not counted votes.” A lightly marked ballot filled out by an elderly or handicapped person, a checkmark instead of a filled-in oval, or even a ballot cast using the wrong pen color can be missed or “no votes” in a machine count but real, legal votes in a hand count. In Florida, a shocking 1.67% of the people wearing an “I Voted” sticker didn’t actually. In Michigan, where the margin is only 11,000 votes, there are 75,000 not counted votes in Detroit alone. Hand counts will identify and include legal votes missed by the machine; anyone who says otherwise is simply wrong.
Wisconsin: Trump’s lead in Wisconsin barely changes as Wisconsin’s recount continues | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin’s presidential recount is 70% done but the effort has resulted in almost no change to President-elect Donald Trump’s winning margin in the state, election officials said. The Wisconsin Elections Commission said Democrat Hillary Clinton has gained 82 votes so far on Trump, a Republican who won the Nov. 8 election in the state by more than 22,000 votes. The recount is on schedule to finish by the Monday deadline for local officials and the Tuesday deadline for the state, with 34 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the city of Milwaukee already finished, according to the state commission and Milwaukee Election Commission executive director Neil Albrecht. Some of the state’s biggest counties, including Dane and Brown, are still counting by hand or machine, however. Clinton has picked up 492 votes so far in the recount, but has gained almost no ground since Trump himself gained 410 votes in this new tally and led by 22,177 votes going into the recount.
Day six of the presidential recount has several counties crossing the finish line in Wisconsin. President-elect Donald Trump’s lead continues to grow as 23 counties complete the process. He has picked up 143 votes on Hillary Clinton. In southeastern Wisconsin, Dodge County, Ozaukee County, Sheboygan County, Walworth County and Washington County recounted their last ballots by Tuesday afternoon. Sheboygan County recounted their 58,000 by hand. More than 100 votes shifted, netting a 13 vote gain for Trump. Dobson said the changes were mainly caused by voter errors. “Someone will take a ballot and either circle the candidates name and not connect the ends of the arrow,” he explained.
A federal judge Friday denied an emergency halt to the recount of the presidential vote in Wisconsin, allowing the process to continue until a Dec. 9 court hearing at least. There is no need to halt the recount just yet because it will not do any immediate harm to Republican President-elect Donald Trump or his supporters, U.S. District Judge James Peterson wrote in a three-page order that called for both sides in the case to lay out written arguments before he takes any action. Citing the case that cleared George W. Bush’s path to the presidency, Trump supporters had filed a lawsuit early Friday to stop Wisconsin’s recount and safeguard the president elect’s Nov. 8 victory here.
The basement room was cleared of pens with blue or black ink, items that could mar paper ballots. Anyone wearing a coat was told to leave it in the hallway, in case something nefarious was hidden underneath. Water bottles, purses and keys were placed on the floor, leaving the large plastic tables smooth and uncluttered. And at 9 a.m., with the brisk rap of a county clerk’s wooden gavel, the first recount of the 2016 presidential election was underway in Wisconsin, with another recount pending in the neighboring battleground state of Michigan. For the next 12 days, election officials across all 72 counties in Wisconsin will work days, nights and weekends to recount nearly three million ballots, an effort initiated and financed by Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, who has suggested that voting machines in the state could have been hacked. Very few people expect that the recount will reverse the outcome of the election. President-elect Donald J. Trump triumphed here over Hillary Clinton by 22,177 votes, and in Michigan by 10,704 votes, a margin that a lawyer for Mrs. Clinton, Marc Elias, said had never been overcome in a recount. Legal challenges to the vote in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Trump leads by 70,638 votes, are also underway.
Wisconsin: Recount begins in Wisconsin, and it feels like Election Day again | Minneapolis Star Tribune
In the St. Croix County government building, just across the river from Minnesota, Thursday felt a bit like Election Day. Once again, county officials lugged in the heavy machines used to count ballots, set up a table for people to check in and prepared to brief a team of elections workers about the long day that lay ahead. Shortly after 9 a.m., after she’d ensured that everyone and everything was in place — the ballot counters, the political-party observers, the coffee pot and doughnuts — St. Croix County Clerk Cindy Campbell welcomed the 30 or so people gathered in the county’s board room. “This is a recount for the president of the United States,” she said. “It’s something I thought I’d never say, but we’re doing this.” Recount operations began across Wisconsin’s 72 counties on Thursday, following a request from Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who is footing the bill for the nearly $3.5 million effort. It is the first statewide recount prompted by a candidate since 2000, when Florida carried out a much-watched recount to settle the race between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore. Over the next 12 days, officials will recount nearly 3 million ballots.
Wisconsin: New evidence finds anomalies in Wisconsin vote, but no conclusive evidence of fraud | Walter R. Mebane, Jr./The Washington Post
Did the outcome of voting for president in Wisconsin accurately reflect the intentions of the electors? Concerns have been raised about errors in vote counts produced using electronic technology — were machines hacked? — and a recount may occur. Some reports involving statistical analysis of the results has been discussed in the media recently. These analyses, though, rely on data at the county level. Technology, demographics and other important characteristics of the electorate vary within counties, making it difficult to resolve conclusively whether voting technology (did voters cast paper or electronic ballots?) affected the final tabulation of the vote for president. For this reason, I have examined ward-level data. Wards are the smallest aggregation unit at which vote counts are reported in Wisconsin, and many wards have fewer than 100 voters. My analysis, which relies on using election forensics techniques designed to identify electoral fraud, reveals some reasons to be suspicious about vote patterns in Wisconsin. To be very clear, my analysis cannot prove whether fraud occurred, but it does suggest that it would be valuable to conduct an election audit to resolve such concerns definitively.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein will not appeal a judge’s rejection of her lawsuit to force a hand recount of nearly 3 million presidential ballots in Wisconsin, clearing the way for machines to be used in the statewide effort beginning Thursday. Also Wednesday, Stein filed another recount petition in Michigan and the Republican Party of Wisconsin filed a federal elections complaint against both Stein and Democrat Hillary Clinton. The complaint alleges that Stein — who received only a small share of the vote — is improperly fundraising to pay for a recount that primarily benefits Clinton, the second-place finisher behind GOP President-elect Donald Trump. The fundraising amounts to improper coordination between the two campaigns, the complaint to the Federal Elections Commission alleges. “Clinton stands as the only actor that would benefit from a recount taking place in Wisconsin or elsewhere,” the complaint reads. “As outlined below, the Clinton campaign’s direct involvement in the recount process, which was announced well before the recount itself was paid for and finalized, demonstrates a clear link between the actions of the Stein campaign and the strategic goals of Hillary for America.” The complaint is based on the public actions and statements of the Clinton and Stein campaigns and not on any inside information.
Even if the recount of Wisconsin’s election results doesn’t change a single vote, the scrutiny could have one useful side effect: Spotlighting how scattershot the American voting system has become. Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is leading the effort for a recount after claims surfaced that there was statistical evidence the state’s results were suspicious. Many supporters of the recount worry that Russian hackers might have thrown the contest to President-elect Donald Trump, who won the state by 24,081 votes out of nearly 3 million cast. Skeptics have thrown cold water on the claim, arguing that the data does not support this claim in any convincing way. But right now it’s almost impossible to disprove the suspicion that voting machines were somehow compromised because Wisconsin’s voting machines are so inconsistent from one location to the next.
A Wisconsin judge refused on Tuesday to order local election workers to conduct the state’s upcoming presidential recount completely by hand Tuesday, finding that nothing suggests the state’s electronic tabulating machines have been hacked. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has been trying to make the case that Wisconsin’s tabulating machines could have been compromised in a cyberattack and a hand recount is the only way to tell for sure. But Dane County Circuit Court Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn concluded Stein’s attorneys failed to show any hard evidence the machines were attacked and are unreliable. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by about 22,000 votes in Wisconsin, but Stein has alleged — without evidence — that the results may have been hacked. She asked for a recount last week, saying the state needs to be sure.
For Jill Stein, it’s time to put her money where her mouth is. After raising $6.5 million and taking steps to initiate recounts in a trio of states Hillary Clinton lost in the Nov. 8 presidential election, Stein has to now pay for the recounts. The estimated costs vary for the three states where she’s fueling recount efforts —Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — but combined, it’s within the amount of money Stein has raised so far. Stein on Tuesday met the 4:30 CT filing deadline and paid the nearly $3.5 million required for a recount, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Earlier in the day, fringe independent presidential candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente withdrew his petition for a recount. The recount starts Thursday. In Michigan, Stein has until Wednesday to request a formal recount and must pay $973,250 to underwrite the costs, according to the Michigan secretary of state’s office. Her campaign on Monday notified the Michigan Board of State Canvassers of its intent to request — but has yet to file paperwork. Michigan officials expect Stein to pay the fee and initiate the recount before the deadline.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission agreed Monday to begin a recount of the presidential election on Thursday but was sued by Green Party candidate Jill Stein after the agency declined to require county officials to recount the votes by hand. It will be a race to finish the recount in time to meet a daunting federal deadline, and the lawsuit could delay the process. Under state law, the recount must begin this week as long as Stein or another candidate pays the $3.5 million estimated cost of the recount by Tuesday, election officials said. Also Monday, Stein filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania to force a recount there and her supporters began filing recount requests at the precinct level in the Keystone State. Stein — who received just a tiny piece of the national vote — also plans to ask for a recount in Michigan on Wednesday.
Wisconsin: Elections Commission rejects hand recount mandate; Stein to sue | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin rejects hand recount mandate; Stein to sue | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel #url#
Wisconsin: Clinton campaign will participate in Wisconsin recount, with an eye on ‘outside interference,’ lawyer says | The Washington Post
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has been quietly exploring whether there was any “outside interference” in the election results and will participate in the election recount in Wisconsin initiated by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a Clinton campaign lawyer revealed Saturday. In a Medium post, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias said that the campaign had received “hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton,” especially in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the “combined margin of victory for Donald Trump was merely 107,000 votes.” Elias said the campaign had “not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology.” But because of the margin of victory — and because of the degree of apparent foreign interference during the campaign — Elias said that Clinton officials had “quietly taken a number of steps in the last two weeks to rule in or out any possibility of outside interference in the vote tally in these critical battleground states.” He said that the Clinton campaign would participate in the Stein-initiated recount in Wisconsin by having representatives on the ground monitoring the count and having lawyers represent them in court if needed. And if Stein made good on efforts to prompt similar processes in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Elias said, the Clinton campaign would do so there, as well.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign said on Saturday it would help with efforts to secure recounts in several states, even as the White House defended the declared results as “the will of the American people”. The campaign’s general counsel, Marc Elias, said in an online post that while it had found no evidence of sabotage, the campaign felt “an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton”. “We certainly understand the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton,” Elias wrote, “and it is a fundamental principle of our democracy to ensure that every vote is properly counted.” In response, President-elect Donald Trump said in a statement: “The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘We must accept this result and then look to the future.’”
Wisconsin will begin a historic presidential recount next week and the state could risk losing its ability to have its 10 electoral votes counted if it doesn’t meet key deadlines next month. Hitting a Dec. 13 deadline could be particularly tricky if Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is able to force the recount to be conducted by hand, Wisconsin’s top election official said. Stein and independent presidential candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente separately filed recount requests late Friday, the last day they were able to do so. Stein received about 31,000 votes and De La Fuente about 1,500 out of 3 million cast. One or both of them will have to pay for the recount because they lost by more than 0.25%. The cost could top $1 million.
Wisconsin will undertake a recount of its presidential election votes after two requests from third-party candidates. Green Party nominee Jill Stein filed her request just before the deadline Friday afternoon, the Wisconsin Elections Commission announced. Reform Party candidate Rocky De La Fuente also filed for a recount. “We are standing up for an election system that we can trust; for voting systems that respect and encourage our vote, and make it possible for all of us to exercise our constitutional right to vote,” Stein said in a statement. “We demand voting systems that are accurate, secure and accountable to the people. This is part of a larger commitment to election reform that our campaign and the Green Party has long stood for, which includes open debates, an end to voter ID laws and voter suppression, and ranked choice voting.” The Wisconsin Elections Commission said it is working under a Dec. 13 deadline to finish the recount.
National: Jill Stein raises $6 million for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania | CS Monitor
Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has raised almost $6 million to petition the states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to recount votes in order to determine if hacking skewed the election away from the expected victor, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. In all three states, President-elect Donald Trump won an upset victory with a tiny margin. If the trio had gone blue, as was expected, Mrs. Clinton would have earned enough electoral votes to secure the election. Proponents of the recount have compared it to instant replay in a sporting event, but critics say it undermines confidence in the electoral process. While Clinton supporters are holding on to their last hope to see her in the White House, the Obama administration has announced that the election was not hacked, by Russians or anyone else. “The Kremlin probably expected that publicity surrounding the disclosures that followed the Russian government-directed compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations, would raise questions about the integrity of the election process that could have undermined the legitimacy of the president-elect,” the Obama administration wrote in a statement. “Nevertheless, we stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people,” it added.
National: Hillary Clinton’s Team to Join Wisconsin Recount Pushed by Jill Stein | The New York Times
Nearly three weeks after Election Day, Hillary Clinton’s campaign said on Saturday that it would participate in a recount process in Wisconsin incited by a third-party candidate and would join any potential recounts in two other closely contested states, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The Clinton campaign held out little hope of success in any of the three states, and said it had seen no “actionable evidence” of vote hacking that might taint the results or otherwise provide new grounds for challenging Donald J. Trump’s victory. But it suggested it was going along with the recount effort to assure supporters that it was doing everything possible to verify that hacking by Russia or other irregularities had not affected the results. In a post on Medium, Marc Elias, the Clinton team’s general counsel, said the campaign would take part in the Wisconsin recount being set off by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and would also participate if Ms. Stein made good on her plans to seek recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Mrs. Clinton lost those three states by a total of little more than 100,000 votes, sealing her Electoral College defeat by Mr. Trump.