County Clerks state-wide began to recount ballots in Wisconsin’s Presidential Recall Election at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Municipalities will have up until Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. to have completed the recount.
While some may question why a recount is expected to take far longer than on election night, Shawano County Clerk Pam Schmidt says that the those working the canvas have much more on their plate to account for during a recount.
“On election night you’ve got ten election workers that are working on each municipality if not more,” said Schmidt. “We have a total of 16 to 18 that will be working and you work in one municipality at a time. You’re reconciling the poll book, you’re checking over the absentees, you’re hand counting the ballots, but it’s just a lot more that we’re looking at and making sure everything was done correctly.”
The optical scan ballots will still be run through the machine, since a judge shot down a request Jill Stein, the petitioner of the recount, to make each ballot hand counted, but the process is similar to election night.
“For the electronic, it prints out on a tape and gives them a total at the end of the night. We do have some municipalities that still have the old fashioned paper ballots, so those are all hashed on a tally sheet,” Schmidt explained.
County Clerks around the state had a video conference Wednesday with the State Elections Commission in order to prepare as best they can for the week ahead.
“It just gave us more direction as far as how in depth we had to reconcile the poll book, which is a little bit differently that what they do generally on election night,” said Schmidt. “Told us what things to look for and just gave us direction because obviously the Board of Canvasses aren’t working that in depth with these things as they do on election night.
The State Elections Commission requires each county to provide a nightly update on their progress for the day, as well as requires them to keep track of all costs associated with the recount process.