In 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, the recount is, or at least appears to be, on track for an on-time finish. With 2,717, or 75.43%, of the reporting units, and 1,044,530, or just under 70%, of the votes recounted and reviewed by Government Accountability Board staff as of 6 pm Wednesday, David Prosser has gained 271 votes from his pre-recount total, while JoAnne Kloppenburg has gained 481 from her pre-recount total. That represents a net loss of 210 votes for Prosser from his pre-recount lead of 7,316, bringing the unofficial full-state lead down to 7,106 votes.
Between those reporting units that have been recounted and reviewed and those which have been recounted but not reviewed, 61 of the 72 counties have completed their recount with just 5 days left in the statutory deadline. The GAB has created a page that contains individual county spreadsheets of the recount for those counties where results have been “certified” and, as they receive them, the minutes from the recount in those counties.
9 other counties appear to be on track, through either percentage of reporting units recounted or percentage of votes recounted, to be done by Monday. Milwaukee County, while it does not appear to be statistically possible to be done on time, is actually much further along than it appears; more than half the suburbs have been recounted, and the reason why the city of Milwaukee is currently reported as not reporting is the absentee ballots in every ward were counted at a central location on election day and thus must be counted separately from the ballots cast on election day.
That brings me to Waukesha County. As of Wednesday evening, only 10.31% of the reporting units, representing 17,549 votes, have been recounted and reviewed, with another 2,837 votes not reflected in the current GAB spreadsheet. Because the sum of those two numbers are barely 16% of the 125,070 votes canvassed by the county, and because of scrutiny not experienced by any other county including numerous challenges, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Waukesha County has asked the GAB to extend the Monday statutory deadline. If the plan wins approval in a Dane County court, Waukesha County plans on moving to a larger room once May 9th passes and doubling the tabulation staff, which would allow it to recount multiple reporting units at the same time.
In the meantime, the city of Brookfield, whose forgotten-on-election-night results are widely regarded as the major reason for the statewide recount, will have its recount started in the Waukesha County Courthouse Thursday morning. Waukesha County is providing a live-stream of their recount process, for those of you who wish to watch. I’ve heard rumblings that the rate of challenges will increase once the ballot bags for the city of Brookfield are brought into the room, and that more than the “usual” number of observers will descend on the Waukesha County Courthouse, so things could get “interesting”.
Staying with Brookfield and Waukesha County, WITI-TV reported that the first version of the spreadsheet sent by the city clerk, Kris Schmidt, to the county on election night could not be imported into the county system because of extra columns added by the city to allow it to double-check the votes. A second version was sent four minutes after Waukesha County clerk Kathy Nickoulas informed Schmidt the first one was unacceptable. The remaining mystery is why that second version was not imported into the county system on election night.
As for the type of nitpicking the Kloppenburg campaign has been doing, they successfully challenged 18 of the 24 absentee ballots in the Sauk County town of Sumpter, most of them from a convent, because they broke heavily for Pross…er, lacked witness signatures on the application. 14 of the 18 that were in the drawdown (random removal) were for Prosser, while the pre-recount canvass for the town had Kloppenburg carrying the town 96-83. The Prosser campaign, in an e-mail received by WTMJ-AM’s Charlie Sykes, claimed that the GAB has not consistently enforced the witness signature requirement, and that even after the town clerk testified that the ballots that were delivered by her to the nuns were valid, the Sauk County board of canvassers rejected the 18 ballots a second time.
Revisions/extensions (7:09 am 5/5/2011) - I had the wrong link to the Waukesha County requests extension story. It’s fixed now. Sorry about that.