Wisconsin Supreme Court challenger candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg formally called Wednesday for a statewide recount done by hand and also asked for another formal investigation of the discovered votes in Waukesha County.
“There are legitimate and widespread anomalies and legitimate questions about the conduct of this election, most visibly in Waukesha County, but also in counties around the state,” Kloppenburg told a gathering of supporters at the Werner Park Community Recreation Center on Madison’s north side.
Her decision to request a statewide recount came out of concerns that vote discrepancies reported in other counties meant problems occurred throughout the state, including issues discovered in the cities of Milwaukee and Racine, and Fond du Lac and Winnebago counties, Kloppenburg said.
She said she hoped a recount would shine some light on an election that seemed suspect to so many people.
Kloppenburg declared victory in the Supreme Court election with a narrow 204 vote lead the day after the polls closed. Later that week, the Waukesha County clerk discovered more than 14,000 votes had not been reported from Brookfield. When tallied, the votes put incumbent Justice David Prosser in the lead by more than 7,000 votes and he declared victory Monday.
The non-partisan Government Accountability Board launched an official investigation into the Waukesha votes and reported Tuesday it found the numbers reported by municipalities were consistent with the numbers from the county canvassers.
Kloppenburg said she did not believe in the integrity of the investigation and also asked Wednesday that the GAB appoint a special investigator to “professionally, thoroughly and completely” investigate Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus. She said the team responsible for analyzing the data was not “adversarial” enough in their approach.
Prosser’s spokesperson Brian Nemoir said in a statement it was ironic that Kloppenburg insisted just 24 hours after the GAB concluded its four-day investigation that the Waukesha County votes be examined further. Nemoir said the decision to request a statewide recount would only reaffirm Prosser’s lead.
“We’ve not had a statewide canvass and four separate examinations of the canvass in one county. The record books show the largest number of votes turned in state history on a recount is 489,” Nemoir said. “[Kloppenburg’s] losing margin now stands at 15 times that.”
He added the recount would cost taxpayers money, but just how much money is currently unknown, GAB spokesperson Reid Magney said.
Although the GAB oversees Wisconsin elections on behalf of the state, the amount of money a recount would cost is determined by individual counties. Magney said various media outlets have estimated costs for a statewide recount into the millions, but that seemed too high. The largest cost to counties would be opportunity cost.
“County clerks and staff would be working on a recount for the better part of two weeks and not be able to do other things they’re tasked with normally,” Magney said.
He added the GAB is prepared to move forward with the recount, which they anticipate to begin next week after a teleconference meeting with Wisconsin county clerks Monday.