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WI: District 21 recount plods along; Wanggaard requests open book

By   /   June 21, 2012  /   No Comments

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Day 2 of the recount in Wisconsin’s disputed 21st Senate District recall election continued much like the first, according to a campaign official — slowly and methodically.

Racine County election canvassers, counting in the same small conference room at the county courthouse, appear to be moving west to east on the ballot stack, enumerating votes from towns and villages like Dover, Yorkville and Caledonia, said Justin Phillips, campaign manager for state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine. He predicted it could be late Monday or Tuesday before the recount begins looking at Racine votes.

Wanggaard trails his Democratic challenger, John Lehman, also of Racine, by more than 800 votes, or a little more than 1 percent, in the recall race.

The election was held June 5, but Wanggaard opted to call for a recount days after canvassers concluded the then-final vote, saying there were too many concerns about voter irregularities and fraud to let the results stand.

As of late Thursday, Phillips said Wanggaard appears to have picked 10 votes.

“We’re nickel-and-diming right now,” the campaign manager said. “But we’re still picking up votes, moving things slowly in the right direction.”

In two wards, elections officials found a couple more voters than ballots. Counters are trying to reconcile the ballots with the ballot book, Phillips said.

Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Wanggaard’s best shot of changing the election results, arguably, is in the same-day registration voter counts.

“That’s where the meat of the irregularities take place,” Phillips said. “You look at same day and see how many there are, there could be 1,000 or more, which could call the race into question.”

Phillips said the Wanggaard camp planned to request the information be opened up.

Last week, the MacIver Institute, a conservative watchdog organization, reported that the Racine County Sheriff’s Department had opened an investigation into election documents found in a Dumpster at the Cesar Chavez Community Center — the polling site for Racine wards 11,12 and 15.

Neither Lehman nor his campaign spokesman could be reached for comment Thursday.

Elections officials have until July 13 to complete the count of the nearly 72,000 ballots.

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