Dane County Judge DENIES Jill Stein’s request for hand recount of ballots; new cost estimate $3.9M

MADISON — Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn on Tuesday night DENIED Green Party candidate Jill Stein's request to force clerks to count ballots by hand during the presidential recount in Wisconsin set to begin on Thursday, December 1st.

Clerks will be allowed to recount ballots by hand OR by machine.

Judge Bailey-Rihn encouraged clerks to hand count the ballots, saying she agreed that it's the best way to determine whether voting machines were tampered with -- but said she had to follow the law. She said "I don't have any authority" to tell the clerks how to conduct the recount. She said she was not convinced by Stein campaign's witnesses that voting machines in Wisconsin had been tampered with.

"I just do not find clear and convincing evidence and that is my decision. I'm going to allow the 19 counties to do the recall the way that they intended. Again, I think everyone would strongly encourage them to do the hand recount," Judge Bailey-Rihn said.

Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn

Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn

About 20 county clerks who said they would use voting machines to recount at least some ballots will be allowed to proceed -- including in Milwaukee County, where Clerk Joe Czarnezki said Monday he was uncertain he could finish the recount by the December 12th deadline without machines.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel issued this statement on the judge's ruling:

“I am very pleased with the judge’s decision, particularly because she followed the law enacted by the legislature that sets the parameters for a hand recount. The outstanding effort of the Department of Justice attorneys and staff who worked on this case makes me extremely proud.”

Stein earlier Tuesday filed the $3.5 million fee -- wiring the money to trigger this recount, despite the fact that she called the estimated cost "exorbitant."

And that was before the Wisconsin Elections Commission released an updated estimated cost -- $3.9 million.

Here are details on the developments Tuesday prior to the hearing in Dane County Circuit Court -- as released by the Wisconsin Elections Commission:

  • The Wisconsin Elections Commission has received a bank wire transfer of $3,499,689 from the Jill Stein presidential campaign to prepay the estimated cost of conducting a statewide recount.
  • The campaign of Roque De La Fuente withdrew its recount petition Tuesday, and will not be participating financially in the cost of the recount.
  • Monday, the Commission released an estimate of nearly $3.5 million to the campaigns of Green Party candidate Jill Stein and independent candidate Rocky Roque De La Fuente. Unfortunately, there was an error in adding up figures from the 72 Wisconsin county clerks of their estimated recount costs, and the actual total is $3,898,340.
  • At this time, the Commission will not be requiring the Stein campaign to pay the additional amount.  When counties report their actual costs, the Commission will either bill the Stein campaign for any costs over the $3.5 million or refund the campaign any unused funds.

CLICK HERE to access a "Recount Manual" courtesy the Wisconsin Elections Commission -- with much more information.

Wisconsin Elections Commission

Wisconsin Elections Commission

The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Tuesday afternoon said the estimated cost of the recount in Wisconsin is now $3.9 million.

Stein was required to pay $3.5 million by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to kick off this recount effort -- which she did.

Stein said the $3.5 million estimate Monday from Wisconsin election officials meant she'd have to ask her supporters to raise another $2.4 million. In a statement Tuesday, Stein called it an "undue burden" but said she won't stop efforts for recounts in Wisconsin -- and in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Stein had initially expected the Wisconsin recount effort to cost $1.1 million.

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 23: Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein answers questions during a press conference at the National Press Club August 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Stein discussed her candidacy and her attempts to be included in the presidential debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates during her remarks. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 23: Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein answers questions during a press conference at the National Press Club August 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Stein discussed her candidacy and her attempts to be included in the presidential debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates during her remarks. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Stein said irregularities with the Wisconsin vote indicate potential tampering, although state election officials dispute that. She says a recount is the only way to verify the results.

Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by about 22,000 votes in Wisconsin. The recount will start Thursday.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

Stein sued the Wisconsin Elections Commission in Dane County Circuit Court, asking a judge to force county clerks to hand count every ballot instead of using machines. Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton filed to join the lawsuit.

Judge Bailey-Rihn granted a request from Clinton's attorneys to join the lawsuit without comment during a hearing Tuesday afternoon. Clinton's team had argued she has a stake in the recount and manual counting is the most transparent method for the public.

The judge scheduled the 4:30 p.m. Tuesday hearing to determine whether the recount will be done by hand and ruled shortly before 9:00 p.m. Tuesday a hand recount WILL NOT be mandated.

Attorneys representing Stein and a representative for Clinton called three witnesses to make their case for a hand recount. They said a hand recount is the only way to ensure voting machines weren't tampered with.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice tried to convince the judge not to order a hand recount -- calling one witness, a representative from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

DOJ attorneys filed briefs Tuesday arguing that Stein hasn't shown how a hand recount would change the election's results and has offered no evidence of any problems with automatic tabulating equipment. They argued that she's offered only speculation about security risks inherent in all electronic voting systems.

A computer expert testified that Wisconsin's voting machines are susceptible to cyberattacks as part of the suit lawsuit seeking a hand recount.

University of Michigan computer scientist J. Alex Halderman testified that he believes the optical vote scanners that most Wisconsin municipalities can be hacked with screwdrivers, by inserting malware into them through portable media or when they receive updates at county offices. But he presented no evidence that votes were tampered with.

A statistical expert told the court there were some anomalies with state voting results -- particularly when looking at results from municipalities where votes are processed with optical scanners.

Experts argued Wisconsin could be susceptible to a hack because the results were expected to be close here -- a tight race, they argued, would make it easy for a manipulation to go undetected.

Wisconsin's chief elections administrator defended the state's voting systems.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas testified that the state's voting tabulating equipment is federally certified and field tested for accuracy. He said he's not aware of anyone gaining unauthorized access to any equipment anywhere in the state. He added he's confident the equipment is secure.

There is now, of course, the possibility of an appeal. FOX6 News asked -- but the Stein campaign wasn't saying Tuesday whether that's in the cards.

Officials with the Wisconsin Elections Commission said they'll hold a teleconference Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. -- calling this a webinar where they'll get as many of the 72 county clerks on the line as possible, as they no doubt have many questions moving forward.

The recount, which will begin Thursday, December 1st must be completed by December 12th.

Ballot machine

According to the Elections Commission, if the candidates disagree with the results of the recount, the law gives them the right to appeal in circuit court within five business days after the recount is completed.  The circuit court is where issues are resolved that may be discovered during the recount but are not resolved to the satisfaction of the candidates.

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34 comments

  • Hippies Smell

    Money should not be a problem here. Stein and her supporters can easily raise the funds by utilizing their EBT cards, pawning their Obamaphones, and going without Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream for a few months.

    • Liberal Hypocrisy

      She is finally feeling the “burn” personally of all the waste Leftists have perpetrated upon the public over the past 50 years. Now that’s it’s her money instead of our money, she calls it “exorbitant”. We have been saying the cost of government is exorbitant for the same 50 years. Well Jill, welcome to our world!

  • confused

    Stein says it’s an “undue burden” no the undue burden is making all the workers hand count (good way to make a mistake) hoping they will not meet the deadline and then congress can decide to reject or accept electoral votes. hilary may have been popular telling women and girls body image from a man to you is awful, free college, its ok to have kids if you cannot afford it, etc etc. But the WORKING people said oh halll no. Done that for 8 years. We are TIRED.

  • Rob Centros

    Oh well, Jill, that’s what you get when you file for a frivolous recount. Merry Christmas to a lot of busy Wisconsin election workers and temporary help. And so much for your plan of delaying the results of the recount until after the Electoral College vote on December 19th. You’re a pathetic Clinton shill and scam artist — even your own party doesn’t want anything to do with a hypocritical liar like you anymore.

  • Count Cristo

    The liberal leftover Walker recall teachers and union surrogates have lost. The best sight on election night was Trump piercing the blue wall and watching the liberals kicking and screaming as they go down in the biggest upset in history. They jaw dropping reaction was priceless. Even surrogates abandoned the Hillary election rally as thousands of her supporters sat confused and tired waiting for the anointed one to provide them direction for the first time in their lives. Ah. it was a good night indeed. No participation trophies where given and the learning curve was high.

  • marcus wilson

    This is incredible Hillary lost again and Dane County ruled against the lefties. All your BS about this states voting just went up in smoke. Oh what a happy day. I guess I will go out and buy a lottery ticket

  • Eliot

    Stein complains about the cost of the recount? Welcome to Cost of Government 101! Government is expensive, and for the recount, every single precinct has well-paid employees that will have to be paid overtime for weeks for this hot mess, and there are thousands of precincts. You should know better, Jill. You ran for president and you don’t know how much government costs? Bwahahahahaha!

  • Count crisco

    It will be amazing to see the vote tally go up for Trump in the liberal held communities. The electoral college was put in place to balance the election for all the people in different geographical areas otherwise California and New york libbies would elect a liberal president every time, reason the popular vote is on Billary’s side.

  • wheresthebeef

    Isn’t it strange that, when it was announced she had raised 4MM, that that’s almost exactly how much Wisconsin says the recount will “cost?” I suspect the long orange arm has stretched all the way here from NY.

    • Liberals are all about waving their arms around pretending they have power

      The problem is that most liberals aren’t Christians and want to get rid of all Christians. I actually met ONE so-called Christian who was an ultra-Liberal and she was a member of a Presbyterian church who was hosting a funeral for a friend. I was with someone disabled so we sat in the back of the church. She came over and yelled at us and told us we were “required” to sit further up towards the front because only church “Members” were allowed to sit in the back. Mind you she was the only church member at the funeral and the person who died wasn’t a member either.. but she had to exercise what little liberal “power” she had and be rude and disrespectful at a funeral and forced a disabled person to move. THAT is the liberal mindset and there is nothing Christian about it.