Recall Day: WI AG addresses recount possibility as Democrats prepare a recount effort

Over the weekend, Gov. Scott Walker told reporters that he hadn’t made any preparations for a recount. Greta Van Susteren put the question to Wisconsin AG J. B. Van Hollen instead, as well as questions of enforcement and perhaps some competition from the Department of Justice. Van Hollen also discusses voter fraud, and the need for the voter ID law that is presently on hold in Wisconsin:

A recount would probably not involve the state’s Attorney General, not unless there was evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the vote tabulation. Recounts would either be triggered by a secretary of state or the candidates themselves. Democrats are certainly preparing for the possibility, as Politico reports:

Brace yourself: Wisconsin Democrats say they are preparing for the event that the hotly contested recall race could drag on for weeks, or even longer.

Floating the prospect of a recount is, of course, a message that bolsters the party’s claims that the race is closer than people think and that it will go down to the wire — despite polls showing Walker with the lead. …

“We’re very much anticipating that there’s a chance that we could be in a recount scenario,” said Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He said the party will have more than 440 lawyers in the field on Tuesday “doing election protection activities but also tasked with recount preparation, making sure that we know where absentee ballots are at, making sure that we have a strong handle on what’s happening out there.”

If the two candidates finish within a half-percentage point of each other, the state will conduct the recount itself on request from the losing candidate. A recount in a race that had a wider margin of victory would have to get funded by the candidate entirely. We saw this in the Kloppenburg/Prosser race last year, and the recount result was that Prosser still won by thousands of votes. A recount won’t be fruitful unless the gap is in the hundreds, and even then, as Van Hollen notes, the state of Wisconsin has gotten pretty good at conducting elections out of necessity over the last year and a half.

It would be an ugly ending to an ugly process, as Byron York writes at the Washington Examiner. Rumors of a love child raced through blogs opposing Walker, only to later be totally debunked and some group called the “Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op” exposed as a smear organization. In the end, York doesn’t think today’s race will be all that close, because Wisconsin voters like what Walker has done:

Despite much talk about the polls “tightening” in the past few days, Walker has held a consistent, if narrow, lead over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. Perhaps even more discouraging for organized labor are polls showing that voters not only support Walker — they support the heart of Walker’s reforms.

Requiring unionized public employees to pay more for their pensions and health coverage? Seventy-five percent public support, according to a new Marquette Law School poll. Limiting collective bargaining for most public employees? Fifty-five percent support. And when the Marquette pollsters asked whether Wisconsin was better off or worse off as a result of Walker’s changes, voters said better off, 54 percent to 42 percent.

So it’s no wonder the anti-Walker movement, an effort that started with elected lawmakers literally fleeing the state rather than do their jobs, is ending with one last show of ugliness and rancor. Walker knew making fundamental changes would be hard. He probably didn’t think it would be this hard. But if the polls are correct, he is about to enjoy a final vindication.

Or perhaps semi-final, if the Democrats end up forcing a recount. If Walker wins by more than a couple of percentage points, though, it’s doubtful that even the unions will want to spend the money on yet another waste of time.

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