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Thursday, April 21, 2011

 10:18 AM 

What's next

The Government Accountability Board expects to file a request today with a Dane County court to clear the memory on some older optical scan machines to prepare for the recount.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney said staff attorneys were still working on the filing this morning. State law says the electronic memory devices on those machines cannot be cleared for 21 days after an election or while a recount is in place except with a judge's permission, Magney said.

Magney said only a candidate can request a hand count of the ballots, though he said the issue may come up during the expected court hearing on the GAB's request to clear the memory.

Kloppenburg has been encouraged by some liberal groups to seek a hand count of the almost 1.5 million ballots cast. To do that, she would have to persuade a judge with "clear and convincing evidence" that a machine recount would be inaccurate, Magney said.

The majority of the state's voters use optical scan ballots, and, usually, recounts in Wisconsin largely involve feeding ballots through the machines for a second count.

Both sides then look for ballots in which the voter's intent may be in question while going over write-in votes and absentee ballots to ensure they conform to state law and the voter's intent is clear.

Magney said there is a significant number of places still use paper ballots.

The GAB has yet to officially order the recount and has two weeks from receiving Kloppenburg's request to issue the order.

UPDATE - 1:36 p.m.: The GAB has now filed its request to clear the memory cartridges on some optical scan voting machines with Dane Co. Judge Richard Niess.

The parties are currently in a court hearing on the matter, but the Department of Justice does not expect Judge Niess to address any substantive matters.

-- By JR Ross

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