Wisconsin presidential recount begins Thursday

All 72 county clerks are fighting the clock as the historic presidential recount begins Thursday morning. 

After a week of challenges, Milwaukee County Clerk Joseph Czarnezki said everything is in place and ready to go for the first day. 

Every county clerk across the state joined a teleconference with the Wisconsin Elections Commission Wednesday morning to study up on the rules and process. 

 "We know this is going to be a lot of work in a short amount of time,” said Elections Administrator Mike Haas. 

One of the first priorities is making sure all of the ballots are at the county's designated recount location. Milwaukee County's 444,000 had to be taken by the truckload. 

"You don’t just move hundreds of thousands of ballots, throw them in the trunk of a car and take them," Czarnezki said.

All of the county's ballots were taken to the Milwaukee Election Commission Warehouse where 130 workers will be sworn in, trained and expected to work roughly an 8-hour shift per day, at a rate of $15 per hour. 

"They have voting machines stored there," Czarnezki said. "Staff is recommending to the election commission that this be a machine recount."

Milwaukee County is one of around 20 counties planning to use machines after a Dane County judge denied the Green Party's request for every ballot to be recounted by hand. 

"It would have been much more difficult and much more labor intensive,” Czarnezki said. 

Despite the tall task, roughly 30 counties plan to recount ballots strictly by hand. 

"We have confidence our voting equipment is accurate," Czarnezki countered. 

Czarnezki anticipates the process will take the full twelve days, but does not expect the county to miss its deadline. 

"I guess we could call it controlled chaos,” he said. 
Czarnezki said he expects the recount final tally to be similar to the numbers from the general election. 

"I don’t think we’re going to see a change in outcome of the winner of the election in Wisconsin," he said. "That would be extremely rare for that to happen.” 

The public will be allowed to watch the recount process in every county, however, those in attendance will be monitored by security. 

County clerks will be required to send a nightly email with the day's vote tally. The results will be shared with the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

Information on county recount location in our viewing area:

  • Dodge County - Administration building - 127 E. Oak Street Juneau, WI.
  • Jefferson County - Courthouse - 311 S. Center Ave. Jefferson, WI. 
  • Kenosha County - Job Center - 8600 Sheridan Rd. Kenosha, WI.
  • Milwaukee County - Elections Commission Warehouse - 1901 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Milwaukee, WI.
  • Ozaukee County - Administration Center - 121 W. Main St. Port Washington, WI.
  • Racine County - Courthouse - 730 Wisconsin Ave. Racine, WI. - 1st floor conference room 
  • Sheboygan County - Administration building - 508 New York Ave. Sheboygan, WI.
  • Walworth County - Govt. Center - 100 W. Walworth St. Elkhorn, WI.
  • Washington County - Courthouse - 432 E. Washington St. West Bend, WI.
  • Waukesha County - Courthouse - 515 W. Moreland Blvd. Waukesha, WI.
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