By M.D. Kittle and Kirsten Adshead | Wisconsin Reporter
RACINE — Disputed votes in the 21st Senate District election were the result of administrative errors and will be counted, according to the Government Accountability Board.
The recount of the election results resumed and stalled Monday as Racine County elections officials worked to reconcile the ballot book and the vote count in Racine’s 2nd Ward.
An estimated 116 of the 169 votes in the ward were cast by same-day registrants who did not sign the poll books.
County Clerk Wendy Christensen and representatives for the campaigns of incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard, and his Democratic challenger, John Lehman, both of Racine, spoke with staff from the GAB.
“Our determination is that missing voter signatures on poll books … are administrative errors and do not invalidate ballots,” GAB spokesman Reid Magney told Wisconsin Reporter.
In the case of these election-day registrants, the voters should have signed the registration list.
They did not.
“What’s the remedy here?” Magney offered. “Well, John Smith didn’t sign the poll book, so we’ll pull his vote. Well, where’s his vote?”
Wanggaard trails Lehman 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.
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,” Justin Phillips, Wanggaard’s campaign manager, told Wisconsin Reporter last week. “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 could not be reached for comment Monday. Nor could Christensen.
The recount began Wednesday. Statutorily, elections officials have 10 days to complete it.
It wasn’t clear Monday if the voter issue would delay the recount.