Election results don't show a mandate so much as they show a split in the state … and the potential for many recounts. About a dozen races in our state were won — or lost — by just one percentage point or less. Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says it's the prerogative of the candidate to request a recount. “I think it's not only a candidate's right, but I think often it's a candidate's obligation to request a recount, because it's so important that we get elections right and that the true intent of the voter is reflected.”
Unofficial figures show Democrat Kathleen Falk lost the attorney general race by about 9,000 votes, which is less than ½-percent of the 2-million ballots cast. Falk says she'll wait until the official election canvass is complete before deciding whether to concede or request a recount. Kyle Richmond of the State Elections Board says the last time there was a statewide recount was 1989, but that was when the less-reliable punch card and lever machines were used.
Considering the number of close races in our state, McCabe says defining Wisconsin as either blue or red is an injustice to the true nature of the electorate. Instead, he says, Wisconsin is a classic purple state. “Yeah, I hate the maps that show states to be red or blue, because in reality if you look at how the elections are playing out in individual communities and individual districts, places like Wisconsin are clearly purple.”
McCabe explains, in a combined four Assembly races, with 100,000 votes cast, the decision came down to just about 600 votes that could have given the Democrats a 50-49 majority in the Assembly. Also interesting to note, the incumbent of the 43rd Assembly seat is down by a mere nine votes. Richmond says after the counties turn in their final numbers to the Elections Board, candidates have just three business days to request a recount. Also worth noting, if the margin is 1/2-percent or less, the government pays for the recount, but if it's more than 2-percent, the candidate flips the bill.