Considerations for your County Canvass and preparation for potential recount


Timely Attention Required



Wisconsin County Clerks
Milwaukee County Election Commission


Nathaniel E. Robinson



DATE:         April 6, 2011`



TO:              Wisconsin CountyClerks

                     MilwaukeeCounty Election Commission


FROM:        Ross Hein

                     Elections Specialist

                     Government Accountability Board


SUBJECT:   Consideration for your CountyCanvass and Preparation for Potential Recount



We are in unprecedented times in many respects, but particularly with regard to a potential statewide recount, which has not occurred since 1989.  As you begin your CountyBoards of Canvasses on Thursday, finalizing the election results from the April 5, 2011 Spring Election remains should be your first priority.  A thorough completion of the CountyBoard of Canvass at this time may reconcile inconsistencies and issues that will likely save you significant time and effort in the pending recount process.


Primary focus is completing the CountyBoard of Canvass as thoroughly and quickly as possible.  Please consider the following important points:


·                     Please find attached the pamphlet for “Procedures for CountyBoard of Canvassers” that may be a helpful refresher or outline for your reference.


·                     Be sure that you have received delivery of all municipal returns and required materials by 4:00 p.m. the day following the election and retain them in a secured location pending the recount, no exceptions.


·                     Conduct a thorough canvass as outlined on pages 2-5 of the attached pamphlet, taking time as necessary to reconcile inconsistencies or issues. 


o                    If any of the returns received from the municipality are defective or contain inconsistencies, it is the responsibility of the municipality to remedy any insufficiencies. 

o                    Properly address challenged  or provisional ballots at the county canvass.


·                     At the meeting of your county board of canvassers, identify the availability of the board members for recount canvass service for the last two weeks of April and the first week of May 2011 at a minimum.  Make sure to identify alternates sufficient in number to address any temporary vacancies during the recount canvass. 


·                     Any recount will occur simultaneously in all 72 counties beginning on an identical start time.  Teleconferences will occur providing additional detail regarding the recount processes.


·                     After completing the CountyBoard of Canvass, it is recommended that you begin reviewing the election recount proceeding available at:


Voting Equipment


·                     Maintain all memory devices and programming for the April 5, 2011 Spring Election in its original format.  Please do not erase and transfer memory devices.


·                     Ballots tabulated by electronic voting equipment on Election Day must be tabulated using similar equipment at the recount.  Ballots cast on a touchscreen voting system will be hand counted. 


·                     Contact your voting equipment manufacturers / programmers to assess the availability of sufficient quantities of memory devices and timely programming services for the recount proceedings.  You will need separate distinct memory devices for the recount process that are separate from the devices used in the Spring Election.


If you have questions, please contact Ross Hein at (608) 267-3666 or by email at


cc:     Kevin J. Kennedy

         Director and General Counsel

         Government Accountability Board


         Michael R. Haas

         Staff Counsel

         Government Accountability Board


         Nathaniel E. Robinson

         Elections Division Administrator

         Government Accountability Board