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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

 12:36 PM 

Senate approves tightening threshold for free recount

The Senate approved via voice vote tightening the threshold for candidates to request a recount without having to cover the costs. 

Backers say improvements in voting technology have greatly decreased the chance of mistakes in vote totals, making the lower threshold make sense. Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said the change would end “frivolous” recounts.

Now, candidates can request a recount without paying for the costs if the difference between candidates is 0.5 percent if more than 1,000 votes are cast. If there were fewer votes, the difference has to be less than 10. 

The bill would change that to a difference of 0.25 percent of the total votes cast in races where more than 4,000 votes were cast. It would be less than 10 votes in races of 4,000 or fewer votes. 

Candidates would have to cover the costs of all recounts otherwise, though they would get a refund if the effort was successful. Currently, those seeking a recount pay only the full cost if the difference is more than 2 percent of the votes cast. They pay $5 per ward if the difference is between 0.5 percent and 2 percent. 

Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, proposed a substitute amendment to keep what he called the “buffer zone” between candidates not having to pay anything for a recount and having to cover the full costs. He supported lowering the threshold, but believed there should be some middle ground. His amendment would charge candidates $100 per ward if the difference was between 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent. The amendment was shot down 19-14 along party lines.


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