Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Foes Reach Recount Accord

Thursday, 21 Apr 2011 09:47 PM

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David T. Prosser Jr. and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg agreed to the recounting of some ballots by hand and others electronically to resolve who won the April 5 election.

Lawyers for Prosser and Kloppenburg reached the accord in court today, representatives for both sides said, after the state agency responsible for counting votes sued for permission to do so by mining, and potentially erasing, electronic ballot data.

Kloppenburg yesterday asked the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, for a statewide recount after a review of the election results showed the incumbent Prosser had won by 7,316 votes out of almost 1.5 million ballots cast.

“The quicker we get started, the sooner we will have the election results reaffirmed,” Brian Nemoir, a spokesman for Prosser, said in a telephone interview.

The recount comes while the state’s top court addresses two separate filings addressing challenges to the legality of Republican Governor Scott Walker’s legislation limiting public employees’ ability to engage in collective bargaining.

While the Supreme Court contest is nonpartisan, Prosser previously served as Republican speaker of Wisconsin’s lower legislative house, the state Assembly.

‘Destruction of Evidence’

“We are pleased that we were able to resolve this matter so quickly,” said Kloppenburg’s campaign manager, Melissa Mulliken. “The hand recount will be done in the portions of the state where any other method would have required the destruction of evidence and data.”

Ballots will be recounted by hand in all or part of 31 Wisconsin counties, Nemoir said. Wisconsin has 72 counties.

The accountability board lawsuit created a forum for the compromise, Steve Means, the assistant attorney general overseeing the case, said in a telephone interview.

“JoAnne Kloppenburg gave up her right to have a hand recount throughout the state,” Means said. “Justice Prosser gave up his right to contest the partial hand count.”

The case is In the Matter of the Recount of Votes for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, 11cv1863, Dane County, Wisconsin Circuit Court (Madison).

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