Despite the state government’s best effort at preventing a hand recount, most of the ballots cast in the 2016 presidential race in Wisconsin will indeed be counted by hand. The Republican-controlled state went to court to try to limit Jill Stein’s recount to nothing more than a machine or “optical scan” recount, which is far less likely to reveal errors or fraud – and a judge ruled that each Wisconsin county could decide on its own whether to recount by hand or machine. But as it turns out, most have agreed to do it by hand.
Wisconsin’s official election website has logged which counties have decided to do a “Hand Count” or an “Optical Scan.” Sixty of the seventy-two counties have are indeed doing a hand recount (or a hand and machine recount), while just twelve counties are only doing a machine recount.
Notably, of the twelve counties which are refusing to do a hand recount, Donald Trump won nine of them: Dunn, Forest, Kewaunee, Outagamie, Pepin, Racine, Sheboygan, Vilas, and Waukesha. If the sixty counties doing hand recounts uncover wildly inaccurate original vote tallies, it’s possible Stein (now backed by Hillary Clinton’s attorneys) could go back to the judge and make the case to force the other twelve counties to do hand recounts as well.
But the fact that 83% of Wisconsin’s counties are now recounting by hand is a good sign for those who are hoping the recount can reverse the original vote tally, which handed the state to Donald Trump by the narrowest of margins. Before the statewide recount even began, Trump’s lead shrunk by nearly five thousand votes as various precincts took supposed Trump votes off the board which apparently never existed to begin with. And since the hand recount began, at least one Wisconsin county has discovered that some Presidential votes were not counted by the machines because they filled out in a nonstandard fashion.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report