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Wisconsin Counties Scramble to Recount Presidential Votes

One county clerk said there's no way hackers could have tampered with the election because all touch-screen machines have a paper backup and most voters used optical scanning machines, which are not hooked up to the internet.

(TNS) -- Clerks in Wisconsin's 72 counties scrambled on Monday to handle the logistics of recounting nearly 3 million votes cast for president.

They were busy hiring and scheduling people to do the recount, figuring out where recounts will be held and arranging for security since the ballots must be secured 24 hours a day during the recount.

"We're trying to figure out all the logistics. How many people we'll need. How many tables and chairs. How many machines," Milwaukee County Clerk Joseph J. Czarnezki said Monday afternoon.

Sheboygan County Clerk Jon Dolson was elected four years ago and has never handled a recount. On Monday, he was reviewing notes from his predecessor following the last statewide recount, the Supreme Court election in 2011. Six people handled that recount in Sheboygan County. But now recount workers in Sheboygan County will have to count more than 58,000 presidential ballots cast in the county.

"I'm thinking maybe six or eight (workers) because it seems to be a shortened window" to complete the recount, said Dolson, adding that he'll probably hire poll workers because "you don't have to retrain them to work with tabulating machines."

Meanwhile, clerk's offices throughout the state will continue to issue marriage licenses, accept passport applications, sell hunting licenses and handle county board proceedings among other duties. By noon on Monday clerks had to submit an estimate of the cost to perform a recount in their counties.

Shawano County Clerk Pamela Schmidt will use the county's board of canvassers and call in additional poll workers who worked the presidential election. The county has a mix of hand ballots, touch screens and optical scanners to recount. She's tentatively scheduling her workers for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. shifts including Saturdays until the ballots are counted.

"I don't want too long of hours. I want everybody fresh and alert for the next day," said Schmidt.

Racine County's recount of more than 96,000 ballots will be done 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day including Saturdays and Sundays until it's finished, said Clerk Wendy Christensen. The board of canvassers, poll workers and staff from county departments will help with the recount.

Christensen said there's no way hackers could have tampered with the election because all touch-screen machines have a paper backup which is what will be checked during the recount. Most voters used optical scanning machines — feeding their paper ballot into the machine — which are not hooked up to the internet.

Dodge County will hand count its 45,000 ballots. In 2011, it took eight workers eight days to count 22,000 ballots in the Supreme Court race. Clerk Karen Gibson is hoping to get more workers this time with double the number of ballots and only 10 days to recount them.

"I'm pleasantly surprised by how many people who said they would help. I thought they would say 'I don't have time because of the holidays,'" said Gibson.

Clerks in Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties were too busy to talk to a reporter.

In Milwaukee County, Czarnezki is anticipating similar hours to the 2011 recount — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. More than 440,000 votes were cast in Milwaukee County for president. A major cost will be security, which will be provided by the Sheriff's Department.

On Monday, Czarnezki was trying to determine which of two locations will be best for the recount — the Milwaukee County Election Commission warehouse on S. Kinnickinnic Ave. or the county sports complex on W. Ryan Road in Franklin.

"One of the advantages we have if we do a machine recount is that we use the same voting equipment in every municipality. It's new and much faster," Czarnezki said.

The recount will be open to the public.

©2016 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Will Ash leads Cisco’s Security sales team serving U.S. Public Sector customers. This team is focused on delivering protection to government and education customers across their extended network before, during, and after a cyberattack through threat-centric security solutions. Prior to this role, Will led Cisco’s Atlantic Enterprise team, responsible for delivering Cisco’s full product and services portfolio to customers operating in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and western Pennsylvania; positioned in the financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, energy, and professional services industries.