County clerks work down to the wire for historic recount

Posted at 7:12 PM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 20:12:55-05
Every county across the state is working down to the wire to prepare for the historic presidential recount. 
Thirty-two counties planned to strictly recount the ballots by hand, others were hopeful machines would lighten their load. 
In Jefferson County, the clerk’s office is busy lining up recount workers for Thursday. 
"A lot of people have been calling us and volunteering," said Jefferson County clerk Barbara Frank.
Back on election day, the county’s ballots were counted by voting machines. The recount comes with a different approach. 
“The petition requested that it be a hand count,” Frank said. "We are fortunate, we have under 44,000 ballots.”
However, the costs reflect the time it’s going to take. $131,500 has been budgeted adding up to just under $3 per ballot. One of the biggest expenses is paying for 20 workers currently scheduled for one shift a day. 
"It’s just really hard to predict how long it’s going to take,” Frank said. 
In Waukesha county, the undertaking is much larger. 
"It’s not impossible that we’ll have to go to three shifts,” said Waukesha County Clerk Kathleen Novack.
More than 240,000 ballots need to be counted in just 12 days to meet the deadline. 
"We have a very tight timeframe and that’s really a concern,” Novack. said 
Novak said her first choice is using machines to count the ballots to the tune of around $278,000. 
"Now if we’re required to do a hand count I can virtually guarantee we’re going to be doing a three-shift day,” Novack said.  
If required to recount by hand, that figure would go up $75,000 for staff to work around the clock. 
With just two days until the recount begins, the Waukesha County recount room is under security upgrades. Aside from changing the locks, parts of the room are under construction. 
"This whole area is going to be walled off for security purposes,”  Novack said. 
The public will be allowed to watch the recount process in both Waukesha and Jefferson counties, however both will be monitored by paid security. 
TODAY’S TMJ4 found out Tuesday that recount workers are getting paid different hourly rates based on how much each county requested in their projected budget. For example, Milwaukee County recount workers will make $15 an hour, compared to $13.75 in Jefferson County and $10 in Waukesha County.