Presidential election recount set to begin in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -
The first candidate-driven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years is set to begin in Wisconsin.
 
The recount starting Thursday was requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. 
 
It carries none of the drama that Florida did in 2000, when the outcome of the election between Al Gore and George W. Bush hung in the balance.
 
Almost no one expects recounts this year to result in a Clinton victory.
 
But still, county election officials across Wisconsin were hiring temporary workers, expanding hours and dusting off recount manuals to prepare for the work of retabulating nearly 3 million ballots.
 
To find out how your county will be counting votes and how much it costs, click here.
 
A recount was to begin Friday in Michigan and Stein is suing for a recount in Pennsylvania.
 
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein on Wednesday requested a full hand recount of Michigan's presidential vote, making it the third state narrowly won by Republican Donald Trump where she's asked for another look at the results.

President-elect Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes out of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast in Michigan, but Stein alleges that irregularities and the possibility that vote scanning devices could have been hacked call the results into question.

Elections officials in all three states have expressed confidence in their election results.

Michigan's recount could start as early as Friday, though a challenge to the recount by Trump could delay it.

Trump's victory is highly unlikely to be reversed in any of the states, but Stein has said the recount will ensure the integrity of the election.

Republicans have said a Michigan recount would cost taxpayers far more than the $973,000 Stein must pay when filing her recount petition.

Meanwhile in Wisconsin, where Trump defeated Clinton by roughly 22,000 votes, Stein's campaign said Wednesday that it won't appeal a judge's ruling that Wisconsin's recount can be done without counting every ballot by hand.

Stein spokeswoman Margy Levinson said in an email that the campaign decided not to appeal the ruling due to the tight time constraints for completing the Wisconsin recount, which begins Thursday.

Most Wisconsin counties plan to recount their ballots by hand even though the judge's ruling means they can choose to feed the ballots into tabulation machines to double-check the results.

Levinson said Stein's focus will be on verifying the vote on the ground and she encouraged counties to voluntarily conduct a hand recount.

The Wisconsin Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission on Wednesday alleging that Stein's recount effort amounts to illegal coordination with Clinton designed to circumvent the law and public scrutiny.

Stein campaign manager David Cobb said in a statement that Stein is not coordinating with anyone and dismissed the complaint as a "PR stunt to push a false narrative that will ultimately have no impact on the recount in Wisconsin."

Trump defeated Clinton in Pennsylvania by about 71,000 votes, or about 1 percentage point.

 
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Latest on Wisconsin's presidential recount (all times local):
 
   10:20 a.m.
 
   Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein will not be appealing a Wisconsin judge's ruling that a recount there can be done without hand counting every ballot.
 
   Stein spokeswoman Margy Levinson said in an email Wednesday that the ruling made Tuesday night in Dane County Circuit Court would not be appealed. Levinson says given the time constraints, they want to focus resources on the recount that begins Thursday.
 
   The majority of Wisconsin counties planned to do a hand recount of ballots cast even though the judge's ruling means they can choose to feed the ballots into tabulation machines to double check the counts.
 
   Levinson says Stein's focus will be on verifying the vote on the ground and she encourages counties to voluntarily conduct a hand recount.
 
   8:45 p.m.
 
   A Wisconsin judge has refused to order local officials to conduct the state's presidential recount by hand.
 
   Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested the recount last week. She alleged -- without evidence -- that the state's voting equipment may have been hacked.
 
   The state Elections Commission has ordered the recount to begin Thursday but rejected Stein's request that county clerks conduct the recount entirely by hand. Stein filed a lawsuit seeking an order for a statewide hand recount.
 
   Stein's attorneys argued during a hearing Tuesday evening that the best way to determine if a cyberattack occurred is to check ballots by hand against electronic tabulations from Election Day. State lawyers countered there's no evidence to suggest any attack took place.
 
   Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn refused to issue the order, saying Stein's team failed to show any mistakes or irregularities that would bring a machine recount into question.
 
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