Wisconsin Recount Shows Trump Won, Exposes Weaknesses In Election System

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Wisconsin completed its recount 24 hours earlier than anticipated, but delivered the same result as anticipated — Donald Trump won the state by 22,748 votes. The recount that took 12 days found additional votes for Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump increased his lead over Clinton by 131 votes.

The final canvass showed:
Trump 1,405,284 (gain of 844 votes from original count)
Clinton 1,381,823 (gain of 713 votes from original count)

“Completing this recount was a challenge, but the real winners are the voters,” said Wisconsin Elections Commission Chair Mark Thomsen. “Based on the recount, they can have confidence that Wisconsin’s election results accurately reflect the will of the people, regardless of whether they are counted by hand or by machine. The Commission thanks all those involved in the recount for their hard work and dedication.”

During the course of its news conference announcing the results, the WEC gave reporters three differing totals. Commissioners finally told reporters to see the website for the official results.

During the recount commissioners said the internet was rampant with rumors that ballots were being double counted for one candidate or another, or that ballots had been burned. None of those rumors proved to be true they said.

Problems exposed, reaction from Jill Stein

The recount was actually 72 separate recounts, one in each Wisconsin county. Rules for the recount varied from county to county. Some counted by hand. Some used machines. Some used a combination. The recount exposed some of Wisconsin’s election weaknesses. Data entry mistakes were made on election night. Absentee ballots that shouldn’t have been counted because they lacked an address from the witness got through and were counted. People then got to see the strange practice of how those illegal votes were removed by picking a random ballot to toss out.

The commissioners said they found no evidence that the election had been hacked. However, the didn’t know if the false information spread before the election had any impact.

Commissioners were split on their reaction to the recount. One called Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s request that triggered the recount “a scam” for fundraising. Another said Stein essentially paid for a 72 county audit of Wisconsin’s election system and provided them with important information.

In a statement about the recount results Stein said “We however remain disappointed that not all counties conducted a full hand recount, which is considered the ‘gold standard.’ While we were able to beat back efforts by Trump and the GOP to stop the recount, the refusal by some of the largest and most important counties in the state to conduct a hand recount, undermined the ability to get an accurate recount. In fact, Milwaukee County, the largest and the most socio-economically, racially and ethnically diverse county in the state, declined a hand recount, and given the discoveries in Michigan, it is imperative to examine if voters in that county encountered machine errors, manipulations and voter issues on Election Day.”

The result means Trump will get Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes. Stein’s attempts to have recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan have been stalled in court and are likely not to happen before the Tuesday deadline for states to certify their election results.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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