RACINE — It’s been over a month since Wisconsin’s recall elections, and there is still no final outcome in Racine’s 21st Senate District recall. Incumbent Senator Van Wanggaard appears to have lost his seat to Democratic challenger John Lehman, but Wanggaard is now weighing legal action due to potential fraud.
“The decision is whether we’re going to go forward with a lawsuit specific to the recount. That doesn’t preclude any other potential action that we could take dealing with other issues that are not covered by the recount,” Wanggaard said.
In the recall, Lehman appeared to defeat Wanggaard and a recount confirmed Lehman’s victory. 819 votes separated the candidates. However, Wanggaard says the numbers don’t add up.
“Even though we’ve verified the tally, the 800 and some votes, it’s whether or not those votes were eligible to begin with that becomes a question and that’s not covered by the recount process,” Wanggaard said.
During the recount process, Wanggaard discovered over 100 voters didn’t sign voter log books as required by law, voter registration documents were found in a dumpster, some votes were not sealed properly and there was an extraordinarily high number of same-day registration — nearly 8% of the vote.
That, coupled with the fact that Gov. Scott Walker carried the district suggests to Wanggaard that in the Senate race, there are still open questions.
“We have all of this smoke, but we don’t have a smoking gun yet,” Wanggaard said.
Even the Racine County Clerk admits there were issues with the recall election.
“In some instances, I would say there was careless handling of the election materials,” Racine County Clerk Wendy Christiansen said.
The final recount tally shows Wanggaard lost, and Lehman is calling for a concession.
“It is really time for Sen. Wanggaard to admit that he lost this election,” Lehman said.
“This isn’t about being a sore loser at this point. This is about having integrity on the whole process,” Wanggaard said.
If Wanggaard were to concede, the Government Accountability Board would certify the results of the election, and Lehman would take the seat.
If Wanggaard would file some sort of legal action, results could not be certified until the court decides.
Wanggaard is expected to make a decision on Tuesday, July 10th.