Eau Claire County preps for statewide recount; will count ballot - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire County preps for statewide recount; will count ballots by hand

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Starting Thursday, Eau Claire County staff will comb through almost 55,000 ballots as a statewide election recount begins.

Eau Claire County Clerk Janet Loomis told News 18 they are fully staffed and ready for the recount. Loomis said she is not worried about finishing the recount in time for the December 13th deadline. That is the deadline set by federal law - which says any presidential dispute needs to be settled within 35 days of Election Day.

Loomis told News 18 Eau Claire County will recount the ballots by hand, even though a Dane County Judge ruled against a mandatory hand recount. 

The recount will be done at the Town of Washington Town Hall. The public is welcome to watch, as long as people sign in and are quiet during the process, Loomis said. That recount begins Thursday at 9 a.m. and will start at 8 a.m. everyday after that. Loomis said workers will typically count until 5 p.m. 

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Monday

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Nearly three weeks after Wisconsin election officials counted and released results from the presidential election, the Wisconsin Elections Commission approved a recount request. 

Green Party candidate Jill Stein filed for the recount Friday, and the chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission approved that request Monday, saying it would reassure voters the election was fair and accurate. 

In Eau Claire County, officials are still working to record final data from the election, including voter participation and new registration. Now, County Clerk Janet Loomis said staff will go back through the ballots with a fine-tooth comb. Eau Claire County will extend the hours of some of its staff and recruit help from municipal clerks and qualified poll workers. They will compare the poll books to make sure they match the municipal books turned in on election night. They will also physically count the ballots by hand to make sure they have the same number that were cast on election day. 

Stein asked a Dane County judge to require all counties to recount by hand, something the state elections Commission rejected. Eau Claire County said the number of ballots has to be counted by hand anyway, so recording the results by hand would not be a large burden.  

Loomis said Stein will have to pay for the recount. The Wisconsin Elections Commission said the last statewide recount was for the Supreme Court election in 2011, and cost more than $500,000 with less than half the votes that were cast in this election. Loomis said in election history, recounts have not been drastically different than original totals. 

"We have never had a recount in Eau Claire or any part of Eau Claire where the results have ever changed." Loomis said. "One might get one more vote. One candidate might get one less, two more, four more, but the end winner never changed."

The Eau Claire County Clerk said the recount of almost 55,000 ballots will start Thursday. Final numbers need to be finished by Dec. 13 according to federal law that requires all recounts be finished within 35 days after an election.

Loomis said the public is invited to watch the recount as long as people sign in and are quiet during the process. 

Stein also planned to file for a recall in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Michigan just certified its election results Monday.

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