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Monday, November 28, 2016

 10:21 AM 

Elections Commission rejects Stein request for hand recount of 3 million votes cast in Wisconsin presidential race

The state Elections Commission today rejected Green Party candidate Jill Stein's request for a hand recount of the 3 million votes cast in Wisconsin's presidential race.

That means she'd have to seek a court order to have all 72 counties count ballots by hand. Instead, the commission approved allowing the counties to decide which method worked best for them.

The commission also set a 4:30 p.m. Tuesday deadline for Stein, independent Rocky De La Fuente or both to pay the fee covering the expected costs. That estimate will be delivered to the campaigns by the end of today.

Under the timeline approved today, the recount would begin Thursday. Counties would have to wrap up their work by 8 p.m. Dec. 12 after the commission moved up a proposed deadline. That was done to give the commission staff more time to deal with any issues that arise during the recount.

Much of this morning's meeting consisted of walking through the recount process, the first time it's been used for the results of a presidential race in Wisconsin.

Elections Commission Chair Mark Thomsen predicted the count would reassure voters Wisconsin has a fair system and the state isn't "counting dead people's votes." He stressed the system is "very, very decentralized" with 1,854 municipalities in 72 counties conducting the vote with teams of volunteers.

His comments came one day after Donald Trump, who won Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes by just more than 22,000 votes, took to Twitter to say he lost the national popular vote because millions of illegal votes were cast. The claim was offered with no supporting evidence and quickly debunked.

“To say that we didn’t count them correctly the first time, that somehow there were illegal votes being counted is really inappropriate," Thomsen said.

Under the approved timeline:

*Clerks would have to provide by noon today cost estimates and their method for recounting the vote. The cost estimate would be provided to the Stein and De La Fuente campaigns by the close of business today. 

*On Tuesday, Stein and/or De La Fuente would submit payment to the Elections Commission, which would then order the recount.

*On Wednesday, Elections Commission staff would meet with county clerks and canvass members via teleconference to go over the recount rules and processes.

*On Thursday, the recount would begin with a Dec. 12 deadline to wrap up. Elections Commission staff would then prepare the official recount canvass certifications by 3 p.m. Dec. 13.

-- By JR Ross


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