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Jill Stein plans court action to force hand recount of Wisconsin ballots

By Barb Hall,

Updated. The Wisconsin Elections Commission has denied a request by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein to perform a recount of ballots by hand and she is prepared to go to court to challenge the decision, according to media reports. The recount will begin Thursday if payment for the process is received by Tuesday.

President-elect Donald Trump narrowly won the state’s 10 electoral votes — about 27,000 votes separate him and Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton — and Wisconsin Elections Commission chairman Mark Thomsen doesn’t expect that to change with the recount.

Thomsen, a Democrat, said Monday he is confident the Nov. 8 vote will be upheld in the recount, but he was critical of Trump, who — despite having won the most electoral votes — claimed on Twitter Sunday that “massive fraud” had denied him the popular vote as well and that “millions of people” had voted illegally. Clinton is ahead in the popular vote count by more than 2 million votes.

Thomsen, the latest in a long line of officials to debunk the claim as without evidence, called Trump’s remarks “an insult to the people that run our elections.”

“I’ve never seen this kind of attack on poll workers, and on how this system works,” Thomsen said.

The plan approved Monday would leave it to officials in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties to decide whether to do their recounts by hand, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. That could mean some counties perform recounts by machine and some by hand. The deadline for county clerks to submit final count reports is 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12.

Stein, who requested the recount after a University of Michigan election security expert and election lawyers raised hacking fears in three swing states that decided the election, has promised to seek recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well.

Green Party officials have estimated the recount will cost more than $1 million — a bill they’re prepared to pay. However, they want what they’re paying for — a hand recount of all ballots. They said Sunday that they’re willing to go to court if the clerks don’t comply.

Recount advocates may have to do just that. ABC News correspondent David Wright tweeted Monday that the hand count had been denied.

Later Monday, Green Party officials told Fox News in Milwaukee that it will file suit in Dane County court to try to force clerks to hand-count Wisconsin ballots.

Volunteers this week will gather in Muskego at a recount training session.

“As of right now, we have more than 3,000 observers registered,” said George Martin with the Green Party in Wisconsin.

Martin said volunteers won’t be allowed to touch ballots, according to Fox 6. “But we can stand there to observe,” Martin said.


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