By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Election Day may have happened several weeks ago, but the work is far from over for the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission received a recount petition signed by President Donald Trump, earlier this week. The petition, which includes a $3 million payment, asked that the votes be recounted in Milwaukee County and Dane County.
Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson and Election Director Julietta Henry held a press conference regarding the recount on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Henry explained that the ballots and ballot counters will be securely moved to the Wisconsin Center. Later that day, media will be able to walk through.
The Milwaukee County recount will take place at the Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave., and is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 20. The Wisconsin Center was chosen for its space, which will allow for election workers to practice social distancing. The election workers will work from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Each municipality is expected to complete their portion in one day with the exception of the City of Milwaukee,” Henry said.
The results are due by noon on Tuesday, Dec. 1, but the Milwaukee County Election Commission plans to work through the weekend and expects the recount will be concluded on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
“We will welcome the opportunity to show once again that our elections and the process and the systems we have in place are accurate,” Henry said. “We want to make sure we preserve the integrity of the election. In Wisconsin we believe in good government and that means open and honest government in elections and that means transparency.”
The recount proceedings will be taped and available to view during the day.
Everyone will be required to go through security, including metal detectors, as well as coronavirus screening. About 240 staff members will be working on the first day, Henry said. Workers will be asked to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
The Milwaukee County Election Commission has been working with the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that the ballots are secure. In addition to escorting the ballots from the courthouse to the convention center, the ballots will remain under watch for 24-hours a day until the ballot recount is completed, Henry said.
The recount will use the high-speed voting machines, Henry said. If a ballot is being challenged, it will be brought before the board of canvassers who will review the ballot and determine its validity. The strategy being used by the Trump Campaign is to throw paint on the wall and see what sticks and it’s haphazard at best, Christenson said.
The municipal clerks follow all the rules, and the recount will show that, he said. Christenson said he believes the Trump Campaign chose Milwaukee and Dane Counties because of their Democratic strongholds. This is another form of voter suppression, he said.
“While I believe that this recount request is unfounded and unnecessary, I welcome it as an opportunity to prove to the voters of Milwaukee County, the State of Wisconsin and the entire country that our systems are accurate, our elections are transparent and our election results are correct,” Christenson said in a statement.
He added, “Milwaukee County proved the accuracy of our elections in 2016 when that recount was conducted, and we will prove it again with this recount.”