Recount under way in state Senate recall race

Recount could cost more than $7,000
A generic voting sign

Racine County has begun its recount in the state Senate recall race that will determine the chamber’s majority party.

Fourteen tabulators convened at the county courthouse Wednesday, where County Clerk Wendy Christensen gave them final instructions and let them begin.

Some tabulators reviewed poll books. Others counted the actual ballots, flagging those that weren’t properly initialed by poll workers or that had stray marks.

According to state law, the county’s Board of Canvass has to finish the recount of the nearly 72,000 ballots by July 2. Christensen said tabulators will work Saturday and possibly over the following weekend. But she’s confident the board will meet its deadline.

Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard requested the recount after a canvass showed him trailing Democratic challenger John Lehman by 834 votes, or 1.2 percent of the nearly 72,000 votes cast.

The recount is likely to cost taxpayers more than $7,000.

Wanggaard had to pay $685 for the recount. Taxpayers will be on the hook for the rest.

Christenson said it’s hard to estimate how much the overall effort will cost.

She said a judicial recount of 32,000 ballots in April cost about $7,000. That effort took eight days. This time, the canvassing board will have 10 business days to count twice as many ballots, meaning personnel costs could go up.