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Canvassers meeting draws crowd

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JAMES P. LEUTE
April 8, 2011
— With the likelihood high for a recount in the state Supreme Court election, Thursday's meeting of the Rock County Board of Canvassers drew more attention than usual.

The three-person board, comprising the county clerk and two electors, got down to business at 9 a.m. to certify the results of Tuesday's election.


The board meets routinely on the Thursday after the election to make sure the election was administered according to state regulations and to certify the results. At the courthouse, the board reviews county, state and federal elections.


For Thursday's session, the board reviewed local voting in the Supreme Court race between David Prosser Jr. and JoAnne Kloppenburg as well as the uncontested District 4 Court of Appeals contest.


Because of the closeness of the Supreme Court race, Thursday's meeting had observers, which Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler said is highly unusual.


When the session started, there were seven, said Stottler, who spent about 45 minutes outlining the process for the observers.


In addition to herself or her chief deputy, Stottler's board includes one Republican and one Democrat. She said that Thursday's observers included people partisan to both Prosser and Kloppenburg.


In Rock County, people in 86 precincts cast votes at 50 polling places Tuesday.


Municipal and town clerks were required to submit all of their election paperwork to Stottler by the end of the day Wednesday.


The board of canvassers is responsible for:


-- Making sure the required materials have been gathered from each municipality.


-- Checking to see that the number of votes cast is close to the number of voters at the polls.


-- Proofing data received electronically against original results.


-- Compiling write-in votes into one column.


-- Reviewing inspectors' statements, electronic vote records and tally sheets.


-- Reviewing provisional ballots.


-- Completing a canvass statement.


-- Delivering the county canvass to the county clerk, who then uploads the results to the state Government Accountability Board.


The process, which in Rock County lasted several hours Thursday, goes on in each of the state's 72 counties.


"It's a very worthwhile process," Stottler said. "And it's particularly important when something is close and there's a likelihood of a recount.


"It helps organize our role, and it brings outsiders in and gives truth and transparency to the process and proves the outcome."


Of course, an official recount could change the outcome, Stottler said, noting that it's not the job of the board of canvassers to recount ballots. Members only review and certify the materials and the process.


"We don't touch any ballots," she said.


In Rock County, Kloppenburg received 22,145 votes, while Prosser garnered 14,626. Thursday's canvass did not change the vote totals.


Statewide, boards of canvassers have until April 15 to submit their canvass to the Government Accountability Board. Once the final canvass is received, candidates have three business days to ask for a recount, where problem ballots are identified and set aside for further review.



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