You may or may not have noticed that The Feed disappeared from the site today, and from the top menu. We've run that feature for several years now on the site. It's a Rebelmouse page, and it has always been kind of a fun and nifty feature. Unfortunately Rebelmouse is changing quite a lot, and they've dropped their free plan,and the new non-free plans are way out of my price range. We were grandfathered in, but although they are doing a whole lot of neat stuff with their paid platform, things are not changing particularly on the free sites. There will be some more new stuff going on here and over on https://wis.community as time goes on, but The Feed is now dead here.
This is probably not a surprising move, but groups supporting Donald Trump have filed suit this morning to stop the recount in Wisconsin. The suit was filed by numerous plaintiffs including The Great America PAC and Stop Hillary PAC.
The gist of the complaint is that there is not a consistent method for determining the intent of voters on ballots that may not be decisive. They are depending on the Bush v. Gore precedent as a defense of their position. In general the argument is that there is not a standard to ensure that votes will be treated equally in different jurisdictions. There is also not time to develop and promote a standard fast enough to make the deadline of the federal safe harbor law. Reports appear to be that the elections commission is asking canvassers to continue the recount until such time that there is a legal decision. Fasten your seatbelts, this will continue to be a bumpy ride.
I realize that in a lot of ways this is like watching the drying paint channel - but for those of you who are so inclined, this is the live video coverage of the Wisconsin recount from Hudson, WI - courtesy of The Uptake.
As you will see in the Storify article below, a lot happened yesterday RE: the recount. Please follow the links in the Storify for external documents.
The Stein campaign made a wire transfer to the state of 3.5 million dollars shortly before the deadline. An interesting sidelight is that somehow when tallying the estimates of all of the counties, a mistake was made, and the Stein campaign was invoiced for 3.5 million when it should have been 3.9 million. My guess is that the esitmates were probably high (if I were a county clerk I would have decided to err on the high side rather than the low side too) so this may all come out in the wash. In any case, the Stein campaign will be on the hook for the total recount costs, and will be given a refund if the cost is lower than the estimate, so this may all come out in the wash. The estimate was considerably higher than anyone anticipated, so Stein is off raising more money to cover the other states in which they are issuing recount petitions.
Drama unfolded late last night as Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ruled that the Stein campaign had not met the rather strong standard in the law for requesting a totally hand recount. Therefore, individual counties will have the right to decide whether to use scanners to re-scan the votes filed by scanner ballots, or to hand count them . In any case, all of the ballots are inspected as they are fed into the scanner. Votes made on totally electronic voting machines will be hand-counted from the paper tapes that provide an audit trail from those machines. This is long and laborious process - I did this as a volunteer during the last state-wide recall and it takes quite a while to count those votes and tabulate them. It is not clear how difficult it will be for the county canvasses to be completed by the deadline of 8 PM on Dec. 12, nor is it completely clear what will happen if the deadline is not met.
The presidential recount in Wisconsin all boils down to 4:30 PM. 4:30 today is when the payment to the state is due to have the recount proceed. It's also the time that the hearing will take place in Madison to decide if the counties will be forced to do hand recounts of all ballots.
The list of estimated costs from the different counties also lists whether they intend to count all ballots by hand - it appears this is about a half and half mix. It's possible that a full hand recount will increase the cost of the recount, which the Stein campaign is already complaining about as being too high. It will be an interesting afternoon in Madison.
“Where do you get ideas for bills?” a woman at a café recently asked me.
“The best ideas for bills come from people like you,” I told her
December begins a brief time of calm in the Capitol. But behind the scenes, lawmakers are working on new legislation. In the next few weeks I will be drafting bills to introduce in January. I am looking for your ideas!
Since two recount petitions were filed for a Wisconsin recount of the presidental election, procedures for the recount are now under way. County clerks around the state are currently providing cost estimates for their recount efforts, and must provide both a cost and the method that will be used to recount optical scan ballots by the close of business today.
The method issue is important. Current state law allows the different counties to select whether they will count the optical scan ballots by hand and visual inspection, or by feedting them through an optical scan tabulator. Since there are some practical issues with recounting with the scanner (needing to obtain a separate memory cartridge, calibrating and testing the machine, visually inspecting each ballot before scanning it, etc.) it's very possible that many of the jurisdictions will choose to hand count, since it is in a lot of cases easier and faster than doing it by scanner. This is complicated by the fact that the Jill Stein campaign has requested hand-counting of all ballots. If a number of counties are planning on counting ballots with a scanner, it's very possible the petitioning campaigns will attempt to receive a court order forcing hand counting of all of the ballots.
Recount petitions for the presidental election were received today by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, both from the Jill Stein campaign and from the De La Fuente campaign. They were filed with a few hours to spare. The petitions and supporting documents are now up on the Elections Commission web site, which has been under a lot of strain this afternoon due to interest in the petitions.
Personally I believe it's really unlikely that the recount will turn up anything beyond the normal distribution of slight clerical errors -- but the recount in Wisconsin is on. The commission will have a press conference on Monday with details. The recount must be completed by December 13 by federal law, so this will be a very difficult thing to get done and will require quite a lot of extra work by county boards of canvassers. The recount needs to be completed in time for the Electoral College to cast votes.