Wisconsin Supreme Court Recount – Day 1

posted at 1:40 pm on April 28, 2011 by Steve Eggleston

Before I get to the meat of the matter in the recount of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election, I do feel the need to restate the record going into today, with a bit of help from the Government Accountability Board (GAB), Wisconsin’s state election authority, which offers a plethora of links, including unofficial recount results reported to it updated twice daily:

  • Justice David Prosser entered the recount with a county-canvassed 7,316-vote lead over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. As the margin was just under 0.5 percentage points (0.4881), Kloppenburg was entitled to ask for, and indeed did ask for, a statewide recount paid for by the state and the counties that do the actual recount.
  • In Wisconsin, a typical recount consists of a machine recount of ballots cast on an optical-scan machine using the same type of machine used in the election programmed to count just the race being recounted, and a hand recount of ballots cast on a Direct Recording Electronic machine and paper ballots that were not cast on an optical-scan machine. Because the Sequoia Optech III-P Eagle optical-scan machine used by muncipalities in at least parts of 31 counties, by far the most-popular optical-scan machine used in Wisconsin, must have a blank memory cartridge to allow for the reprogramming, the memory cartridges used in the April 5 election must be preserved as-is under state law until after the recount process was completed, and there are no longer enough spare memory cartridges to allow for the preservation of the April 5 election data, both campaigns asked for and received a court order for the hand counting of ballots cast on the Eagle optical-scan machines.
  • The recount, which was ordered to begin today at 9 am, is supposed to be done by 5 pm 5/9/2011 by state law. Once the recount is done, either candidate will have 5 business days to file a judicial appeal, which will first be heard by a reserve (retired/defeated for re-election) judge appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, with any appeal going to the Madison-based 4th District Court of Appeals. If neither candidate appeals, the GAB, after a canvass of the results, will declare a winner.

With the background out of the way, on to the news of the day:

  • The day didn’t begin in two counties – Chippewa (pre-recount totals had Kloppenburg leading 7,221-6,856) and Menominee (pre-recount totals had Kloppenburg leading 241-141). In Chippewa County, the canvassing board had just received spare memory cartridges so they could conduct machine recounts for their optically-scanned ballots, while in Menominee County, the canvassing board had not retrieved the election materials from the school board. Both are expected to begin tomorrow.
  • As Ed Morrissey pointed out in a post on the main page, Waukesha County, where a retired judge has replaced County Clerk Kathy Nickoulas on the canvassing board, had a few problems. The first ballot bag from the Town of Brookfield (not to be confused with the City of Brookfield, whose results were not reported by Nickoulas to the media on election night but were reported during the county canvass) had a mismatched number on a ballot bag seal, while a “remade” absentee ballot (one of five redone because the voter used pen instead of pencil and thus the ballot could not be read by the machine) and the “R’s” from an alphabetized collection of absentee ballots applications (three total) from the town were missing. While the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story did not mention the fate of the missing “remade” ballot, they reported the missing applications were found at the town hall and brought to the recount site. Of note, neither campaign filed any objections today.
  • Meanwhile, in Milwaukee County, the MacIver News Service had a video report of “anomalies” in the Milwaukee County recount:
  • At the end of the day, the GAB reported all of the issues raised by both campaigns were addressed by the various county canvassing boards and posted the results that they had received.

Since those results aren’t quite as user-friendly as one would hope, I took the liberty of creating a spreadsheet that helps one determine how many votes changed in each reporting unit. With 8.94% of the reporting units in Wisconsin reporting, Prosser’s lead dropped by 129 to 7,187.

Revisions/extensions (10:35 pm Eastern, I think, 4/27/2011) - I should mention that there appear to be several reporting units that reported partial results to the GAB. That may be skewing the results some.

R&E part 2 (8:41 am 4/28/2011) - I cannot stress enough that the recounted numbers at this point are both incomplete and uncanvassed. Looking through my spreadsheet, there are several “anomalies” which, at this point, I ascribe to one of two factors – partial reporting of results from a particular reporting unit (outside of the city of Kenosha, this involves reporting units containing multiple wards) and likely transcription errors.

An extreme example of the last appears to be up in Bayfield County. The pre-recount canvassed numbers in the Town of Delta had the results from that town as Kloppenburg 61 votes, Prosser 49 votes; however, the reported (as of yesterday) recounted numbers had the results as Prosser 49 votes, Kloppenburg 11 votes.

If I wanted to fly off the handle like some of those on Wisconsin’s left did after Waukesha County discovered its clerk-induced error during the canvass, I could accuse Bayfield County’s clerk of intentionally holding back votes. After all, the pre-recount results had Kloppenburg more than doubling up on Prosser in that county. However, another reporting unit in that county, the city of Washburn Wards 1-4 (i.e. the entire city) had a gain of 60 votes for Kloppenburg compared to a 0-vote change for Prosser.

I blog over at No Runny Eggs, and am on Twitter @steveegg

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Are all the trunks emptied yet?

csdeven on April 28, 2011 at 1:44 PM

I expect Kloppy to win…by whatever means necessary….

PatriotRider on April 28, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Does anyone really believe Prosser can win this recount?

Wade on April 28, 2011 at 1:46 PM

I expect Kloppy to win…by whatever means necessary….

PatriotRider on April 28, 2011 at 1:45 PM

A Republican has no chance. None. Nota. As you say by whatever means necessary. The fix is in.

Wade on April 28, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Steve, is it possible for Klopp-On Klopp-Off to “find” missing votes on missing ballots, or can they only recount existing ballots that have already been reported?

parteagirl on April 28, 2011 at 1:49 PM

I agree Kloppy will pick up some votes but it is highly unlikely she will make up 7000. We shall see though.

sandee on April 28, 2011 at 1:50 PM

How many extra votes are they going to “find” with this recount? It’s going to be hard to get an extra 7K

Cosmop on April 28, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Does anyone really believe Prosser can win this recount?

Wade on April 28, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Unless the courts steal it from him, yes. The percentage margin is more than three times as large as the largest statewide recount shift in recent years (the 1980 Vermont Senate race, where about 0.152 percentage points shifted in a 206,000-vote race), and close to seven times as large as the largest similar-sized (or larger) statewide recount shift in recent years (the 2000 Colorado Board of Education shift, 0.073 percentage points shifted in a 1.53 million-vote race).

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Eyes must continue to fallow this recount. had they been left to themselves the dems would have stolen Florida for Gore.

Slowburn on April 28, 2011 at 1:52 PM

sandee on April 28, 2011 at 1:50 PM

I agree, finding over 7000 votes would raise red flags I would think. But I put nothing pass the d’s for fraud.
L

letget on April 28, 2011 at 1:53 PM

What’s that little ditty? “Look for… the Union ballots” (Or in this case, look OUT for them.)

VastRightWingConspirator on April 28, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Klop won’t find 7000+ ballots, but maybe they can get those pesky Waukesha votes tossed out. Notice the Dems haven’t cried their usual mantra “count every vote” this time around.

PackerBronco on April 28, 2011 at 1:54 PM

You need to see the idiot of the day for union thugs. This is unbelievable.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/true-story-pa-police-union-files-complaint-against-chief-for-making-off-duty-arrest/
L

letget on April 28, 2011 at 1:55 PM

I agree, finding over 7000 votes would raise red flags I would think. But I put nothing pass the d’s for fraud.
L

letget on April 28, 2011 at 1:53 PM

But then who is going to investigate? Holder?

I don’t think that will happen 7000 is too big of a number, but they asked for this recount for some reason. They probably think they can steal it like they have so many other recounts.

Wisconsin don’t turn your backs, don’t leave the room, watch every single move.

petunia on April 28, 2011 at 1:56 PM

So I have a question: in each of these cases where “missing” ballots are found, and the election is overturned and – surprise! – a Democrat is found the winner, why is the electorate just sitting by as all of the above commenters do and shrug it off as “a fix?”

At what point, folks, do you declare B$ on it and get off the couch?

Cuz hey – if they keep seeing that they can get away with it, they will. It’s the surest path to victory, by golly.

beatcanvas on April 28, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Meanwhile Democrats are feverishly checking the front, back and trunks of poll workers cars for the ‘missing’ ballots.

Hey! They now know the ‘magic number’ they have to come up with.

GarandFan on April 28, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Steve, is it possible for Klopp-On Klopp-Off to “find” missing votes on missing ballots, or can they only recount existing ballots that have already been reported?

parteagirl on April 28, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Unless the additional ballots were introduced to the ballot bag on election night (or someone found a way to tamper with the seal), no. The ballot bags were sealed and, except for a limited hand recount already conducted in two city of Milwaukee wards because the canvass failed to separate the absentee ballot results in those two wards (for, if I remember correctly, less than a 50-vote shift from one ward to the other and no change in the totals for either candidate), not opened until the recount began.

Of course, one could argue that the City of Milwaukee Election Commission attempted to make that easier after the two Democrats sent the Milwaukee Police Department officers requested by the lone Republican on the Commission away on election night. Fortunately, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department didn’t take “No” for an answer and kept squads outside the City’s Election Commission storage building until the Milwaukee County Election Commission took official custody of the ballots.

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Kloppy completes “Miracle on Ice” scale comeback, wins by 183 votes.

Those of us across the border in Minny have seen this movie before.

We know how it ends.

Bruno Strozek on April 28, 2011 at 2:08 PM

They will “find” 8,000 votes and Prosser will lose.

The template started with the Gregoire crew here in Washington State, was perfected by the Franken crew in Minnesota and now will be used effectively in Wisconsin.

It was over for Prosser the minute the decision was made for a recount. And not only will he lose, it will be hailed as wonderful proof that the electoral process and the recount process works and Democracy is saved.

Welcome to Fascism!

Opposite Day on April 28, 2011 at 2:10 PM

I predict crr6 will be vindicated. Kloppy will win the recount.

Well, it looks like Kloppenburg won. I am absolutely confident in that fact, and there is a 0% chance that I will later be proven incorrect.

This post will never come back to bite me.

crr6 on April 7, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Opposite Day on April 28, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Again, at least without a post-recount judicial fiat that would trigger a federal equal protection lawsuit, it would have to be an order of magnitude larger than what they did in either Washington State or Minnesota.

The problem is, they’re likely to get just that.

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Bruno Strozek on April 28, 2011 at 2:08 PM

No, you haven’t. Nobody alive today has. As best as I can determine, the last time a recount/post-recount judicial challenge overturned a statewide race with this large a percentage margin going in was the Reconstruction era, and there were far fewer votes cast.

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

The graveyards of polling places everywhere are scattered with the bleached bones of candidates who underestimated the Donks ability to steal elections.

Three words come to mind: Senator Al Franken

Bruno Strozek on April 28, 2011 at 2:29 PM

All this pessimism stinks of a conspiracy!
Birthers! All of you!/////

letget on April 28, 2011 at 1:55 PM

I read it. Here is part of a comment I think is very instructive from that site:

o Enuff Zenuff
Posted on April 28, 2011 at 2:18pm
.
Working as a Chrysler test engineer 32 years ago, I was told I could not use any tools – the rules stipulated that the UAW union guys had to do any work that required tools.
One time I needed an adjustment screw turned with a screwdriver, so I politely asked the union mechanic to bring a screwdriver over and adjust it. He made me wait a few minutes until he finished reading his comic before informing me curtly that he didn’t have a screwdriver. Running an emmissions test cell cost Chrysler $2,000/hour so I was feeling upset but I didn‘t make the rules and Chrysler didn’t want me to cause the union to file any grievances. I reminded him that his union’s rules forbade me to pick up a screwdriver and reminded him that he was getting paid for this, and asked him him to go borrow one. He stormed off in a huff and didn’t return for at least ten minutes to complain to his boss, while the testing was held up. It’s a wonder any work got done. It used to take the UAW shop three days to swap out an EGR valve that I could change at home in 15 minutes.

Unbelievable.

Badger40 on April 28, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Republicans always lose the recounts because we refuse to cheat.

Old Fritz on April 28, 2011 at 2:38 PM

How many extra votes are they going to “find” with this recount? It’s going to be hard to get an extra 7K

Cosmop on April 28, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Chump change for democrats.

Dopenstrange on April 28, 2011 at 2:47 PM

The graveyards of polling places everywhere are scattered with the bleached bones of candidates who underestimated the Donks ability to steal elections.

Three words come to mind: Senator Al Franken

Bruno Strozek on April 28, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Franken overcame, what, less than 500 votes in a larger election?

I’m not saying that it’s not going to happen. I’m saying that it’s not going to even get close to happening in the recount itself.

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 2:48 PM

If the come up with the votes to steal this one, I suspect they’ll have overplayed their hand.

ElectricPhase on April 28, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Republicans always lose the recounts because we refuse to cheat.

Old Fritz on April 28, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Signed,

PRESIDENT George W. Bush

fossten on April 28, 2011 at 2:58 PM

The template started with the Gregoire crew here in Washington State, was perfected by the Franken crew in Minnesota and now will be used effectively in Wisconsin.

Opposite Day on April 28, 2011 at 2:10 PM

The template was started with the Bush/Gore race in Florida – they just didn’t pull it off.

It was PERFECTED with your Gregoire race and now they have it down pat and have pulled it off in almost every state INCLUDING the Minnesota Franken race.

vapig on April 28, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Republicans always lose the recounts because we refuse to cheat.

Old Fritz on April 28, 2011 at 2:38 PM
Signed,

PRESIDENT George W. Bush

fossten on April 28, 2011 at 2:58 PM

What’s your point? That republicans DID steal that race? Because I’m here to tell ya that democrat judges on the supreme court are the ones who stopped the dems from stealing that race for Gore back in 2000.

vapig on April 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM

What’s your point? That republicans DID steal that race?

vapig on April 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM

No, that the GOP didn’t lose the recount.

fossten on April 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Oh goody, the recount’s begun. Must go see what Altmeade’s up to.

“Anomalies” in Milwaukee County. Imagine that.

SukieTawdry on April 28, 2011 at 3:44 PM

I hope you’re all ready to wake up to “Justice Kloppenberg” tomorrow morning (by the way, I don’t literally mean “wake up to” – Ohhhh, God forbid…)

Dopenstrange on April 28, 2011 at 4:04 PM

You need to see the idiot of the day for union thugs. This is unbelievable.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/true-story-pa-police-union-files-complaint-against-chief-for-making-off-duty-arrest/
L

letget on April 28, 2011 at 1:55 PM

The alleged perp should appeal. If he gets a magistrate like Judge Sumi, his arrest would be thrown out because the arresting officer violated workplace rules [but was in perfect compliance of the accused's civil rights.]
Flaming libs do their best to make our society inefficient, then tell us we need them to nanny us.

rwenger43 on April 28, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Watching the video reminds me of a typical day working for the government: conflicting agendas; failure to have clear rules, policies and procedures; lack of coordination and training; no accountability; and LACK OF LEADERSHIP.

These people have taken over HealthCare.

rwenger43 on April 28, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Recounts with happy endings:

Remember Bob (Who are You) Etheridge?(D-NC) Bobby demanded a state paid recount when a sack full of ballots, all marked for him, magically appeared to put him within the requisite percentage.

Hey Bob, how’d that recount work out for ya?

Not too good. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) is doing a great job representing NC-2.

BigAlSouth on April 28, 2011 at 4:40 PM

If this recount results in a final disposition in favor of Kloppenburg after a 7,000 vote chasm? This is not even remotely like the Franken/Coleman scenario. This recount is being followed by America. The distasteful fiasco of disrespect to our election process, the filthy demonstrations, democratic representatives leaving the state and now this with Kloppenburg does not sit well at all with a majority of Wisconsinite’s nor with the majority of Americans. What Scott Walker achieved is being duplicated successfully across the nation including its implementation by Democratic state and municipal leaders i.e. Massachusetts. As recent as this last Holiday Season Union folks were held in high esteem but across the land more and more are now viewed unfortunately as the Pariah and I mean friends and neighbors. This is especially true here in California where Jerry Brown is silently slashing and burning, 190,000 public jobs to begin including the dismantling of every Economic Development Department in each city which could reach 300,000 alone but you’re not hearing about it. He also realizes that his tax increase request which will be voted on in November will fail even worse than the last offered by Schwarzenegger. The boats are redirecting here folks and that is no assumption. Great job of reporting here……

Tangerinesong on April 28, 2011 at 4:46 PM

vapig on April 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM
The NYT, Washington Post and Miami Herald among others finally admitted that even had the recount had been continued,GB still would have won by several hundred vote.
Get over it dumbass

BruceB on April 28, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Steve,

I know why my totals differed, I used a spreadsheet that I got late yesterday. totals were

Prosser Klopp Scatter total

86,478 75,585 191 162,254

Your totals were

50,423 46,601 141 97,165

WoosterOh on April 28, 2011 at 6:14 PM

To re-post my comment from yesterday

Actually looks like both candidates gained some 350 votes.

basically it is a wash so far.

My totals have it at Prosser +273 and Klopp +222. There are partial counts, removing the ones that are obvious off, it is Prosser +357, Klopp +353

WoosterOh on April 28, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Also, I see the spreadsheet I used had some errors

The updated spreadsheet that was posted late Wednesday was removed from this page early Thursday when we discovered some data entry errors. Some errors occurred in transferring information from clerk e-mails to the spreadsheet, and some were due to typos by clerks. We have been working today to ensure that the data we post is as accurate as possible. Please keep in mind that these are unofficial numbers.

We expect to post the spreadsheet, which will contain numbers from Wednesday’s recount activities, around 6 p.m. today. It will not contain numbers from today because many of the counties are working late tonight.

That is why I posted two totals, I figured there were some errors, so I removed those errors. Saying that, there of course was other major total changes that I left in.

We will see tonight when they re-post yesterdays totals.

WoosterOh on April 28, 2011 at 6:22 PM

WoosterOh on April 28, 2011 at 6:14 PM

The GAB just announced that one of the spreadsheets they put up had significant errors, and they’ll have a corrected one up about 6 pm (in 35 minutes). I don’t know which time-stamped version from yesterday had the error.

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM

I did not catch this yesterday, but I see one major error

TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE Wards 1 & 2 (22038)
Recount 62 46 0 108
Pre-Rec 23 19 1 43

TOWN OF MOUNT IDA Ward 1 (22040)
0 0 0 0
62 46 0 108

They put Mount Ida recount totals in Mount Hope.

Oh well, they will have the corrected spreadsheet in the next hour.

WoosterOh on April 28, 2011 at 6:30 PM

WoosterOh on April 28, 2011 at 6:30 PM

The fact I don’t have either Mount Hope or Mount Ida as recounted means I never saw that version.

I was hoping to get a report from a friend at the Waukesha County recount because there was an attempt by the Kloppenburg campaign to get an entire bag of ballots tossed on the basis of a reported missing inspector’s report, but he must still be away from a computer.

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 6:42 PM

And now that Kyle Maichle is back, I’ll let his Twitter stream do the talking.

To wit, the canvassing board rejected the Kloppenburg attempt to toss the disputed ballot bag from the Town of Delafield, and there was no change in the as-canvassed results from that town.

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 6:51 PM

The American voting system is a joke. Face it.

Crux Australis on April 28, 2011 at 8:48 PM

I don’t believe the left can allow a Prosser victory to stand. I believe they have a plausible road to a victory that they must have. Consider the following issues:

1. The liberals will argue that the law was written so that razor thin margins of victory would be carefully reviewed. Expect them to focus on the less than 1/2 of 1% rather than 7K+ votes.

2. The amount of money that the unions and other leftist groups spent on this election is in the neighborhood of 3 million. That money simply must pay dividends. All the stops will be pulled out to make this “right.”

3. It isn’t just about finding new votes. They can challenge votes, disallow votes, and double count votes, in addition to finding new votes. These are all techniques that we have seen before. They have been used successfully.

4. The democrat history in the state means that judicial decisions are unlikely to go in Prosser’s favor.

5. Our guys have a proud history of seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. There seems to be another proud tradition of bowing out gracefully rather than fighting like a mother grizz defending her 3 legged, red headed, semi retarded cub.

If we are willing to fight the dems hard we could win but I am dubious when it comes to relying on republicans. Please talk me out of my assumptions.

Mormon Doc on April 28, 2011 at 8:54 PM

I don’t believe the left can allow a Prosser victory to stand. I believe they have a plausible road to a victory that they must have. Consider the following issues:

Once the recount is done, either candidate will have 5 business days to file a judicial appeal, which will first be heard by a reserve (retired/defeated for re-election) judge appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, with any appeal going to the Madison-based 4th District Court of Appeals.

There is their path. Hand appoint appeal, then goes to Madison County, which is as liberals has Hell, and we know Hell is Liberal. Goes to the Supreme Court. Get Prosser to recuse himself. Now 3-3.

WoosterOh on April 28, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Mormon Doc on April 28, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Dont forget the new voter ID law. It will be in effect May 2012. If they have a majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, then they can strike it down.

They have a lot riding on this race.

WoosterOh on April 28, 2011 at 9:08 PM

WoosterOh on April 28, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Dane County, actually (more people know Madison, WI, than Dane County, and the appellate court is a multi-county jurisdiction), but that’s precisely the route I see them taking.

Steve Eggleston on April 28, 2011 at 10:07 PM

The problem is that Marxist judges won’t care whether overturning an election raises red flags or not. If they can insulate themselves from culpability they’ll give it a try. We’ve already seen three instances within the past couple years of Moocowski’s judges, Rahm’s judges and the creep who overturned Prop. 8 in Mexifornia because the voter’s decision didn’t fit his agenda. Once upon a time tar, feathers and a rail helped deter gross judicial misconduct.

viking01 on April 28, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Crux Australis on April 28, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Oh yeah?! Well Paul Hogan is a poacher and he never really got attacked by a croc. I heard it was all made up for a movie. BURN!

Mormon Doc on April 28, 2011 at 11:46 PM