(Updates with official’s comment in seventh paragraph.)
April 21 (Bloomberg) -- The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board asked a judge to allow the use of electronic voting memory cartridges to speed the recount in a contested Supreme Court election, even if that use might erase the voting data.
The nonpartisan agency filed the lawsuit today in state court in Madison, naming as defendants incumbent Supreme Court Justice David T. Prosser Jr. and his challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg.
Kloppenburg yesterday asked election officials for a statewide recount after a review of the April 5 election results showed Prosser had won by 7,316 votes out of almost 1.5 million ballots cast.
The recount comes while the state’s top court addresses two separate filings asking it to overturn a temporary injunction and dismiss a lawsuit challenging 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 a Republican speaker of Wisconsin’s lower legislative house, the state Assembly.
Allowing counties to re-tabulate votes using the erasable memory cartridges “will allow for a timely and accurate recount that will give effect to the will of the electors,” according to the complaint filed by the office of State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.
Lisa Weiner, the Milwaukee County Elections Board administrator, said it would take at least a week to conduct a recount using the machines and twice as long for a hand count. The cost of a mechanical recount would exceed $500,000, she said. The candidates have until the end of today to request a hand count, she said.
The case is In the Matter of the Recount of Votes for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, 11cv1863, Dane County, Wisconsin Circuit Court (Madison).
--With assistance from Marie Rohde in Milwaukee. Editors: Michael Hytha, Charles Carter
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