July 25, 2014

Questions remain in Senate recount

A recount in the 21st state Senate District is over, but there is still a lot of disagreement about what happened during the balloting in June. Results submitted to the state Government Accountability Board Monday show Democrat John Lehman defeating incumbent Republican Senator Van Wanggaard in the June 5th recall election, although Lehman’s margin of victory shrank from 834 votes to 819. However, Wanggaard says the recount revealed “even more suspicious activity.”

Wanggaard campaign attorney Jonathan Strasburg said the issues uncovered, especially in the city of Racine, are serious and used procedures that would “make Fidel Castro blush.”

Those problems ranged from ballot bags, empty ballots that had been initialed by poll workers and missing voter signatures on poll books. Senator-elect John Lehman characterized them as harmless mistakes. He says there were “minor election administration errors,” but the findings of the recount back up the initial election results.

Racine County Clerk Wendy Chistensen says what she saw was carelessness on the part of some poll workers. She says some places performed poorly and admits there is a need for improvement.

The Wanggaard campaign now has five days to decide if they will contest the results in circuit court.

AUDIO: Janet Hoff reports (1:28)