Dane Co. starts counting November presidential ballots-- again

Wisconsin’s partial recount began Friday, but the actual counting didn’t start until Saturday.
Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 7:06 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane Co. election officials got to counting for the first time Saturday in Wisconsin’s partial recount of November ballots.

Officials figuring out the logistics made for a slow start in the morning, according to Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, but a “smoothly”-run public test of election equipment led the day-long recount process.

McDonell explained how the two-step recount process works. It begins with about 60 people, called tabulators, who count the ballots in front of observers from both the Biden and Trump campaigns.

“Our job as tabulators is simple to count stacks of things and do it in a way that the observers can see what they want to see,” Brook Soltvedt said.

The observers can also object to individual ballots for reasons such as a missing voter or witness signature. Soltvedt said observers flagged objections when a clerk and voter used different-colored ink to write on the ballot envelope.

McDonell said that a handful of ballots from each ward had objections at the start of counting.

In part two, the high-speed scanners does the actual counting to confirm that the total number of votes match what was reported on Election Day.

On Friday, the three-member board of canvassers denied the Trump campaign of three blanket objections. They were requests, for example, to reject absentees that didn’t have a written application on file. McDonell, who is on the board, said those challenges were noted for the record.

Local election officials have said they don’t expect this recount to change the results much. They face a Dec. 1 deadline, but McDonell said they might not need the full time, as observers learn the ropes and speed up the process.

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