42 Wisconsin counties have reported final vote tallies

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42 Wisconsin counties have reported final vote tallies MADISON, Nov. 13 B As of the end of business on Monday, 42 of WisconsinBs 72 counties have turned their final vote tallies in to the state Elections Board in Madison. Once all 72 counties have reported the candidates have three business days to file for a recount in Wisconsin.

THE COUNTIES HAVE to turn in their totals by this Friday. That means the last chance to file for a recount is next Wednesday. ItBs possible that all the counties will turn their ballots in before that time, if so, the whole process will get pushed up. There have been reports that George W. Bush may ask for a recount in Wisconsin, but so far state GOP officials arenBt commenting on those reports. Most counties were keeping their ballots under lock and key, a typical security measure brought into focus as the presidential race remained too close to call in Florida and Bush weighed asking for recounts in Iowa, New Mexico and Wisconsin. In Brown County, ballots were delivered on election night to the county clerkBs office, where they were locked in a basement storage bin. BWe treat it like money,B said Sandy Van Straten-Juno, the countyBs chief deputy clerk. Milwaukee CountyBs ballots are kept in sealed bags in locked rooms in the courthouse and another county building, said Janice Dunn, of the county election commission. Officials in each county are double-checking vote totals, something they do after every election before submitting vote tallies to the state Elections Board. Unofficial results in Wisconsin show Vice President Al Gore leads Bush by 6,099 votes out of 2.5 million cast. The tallies are prepared by a county board of canvassers, which by law includes the county clerk, a Republican and a Democrat. Deputy clerks replace any county clerks up for re-election. Canvassing boards do not inspect individual ballots, but they make sure there were not more votes cast than voters, said Joe Parisi, Dane County clerk. The boards do that by comparing the number of votes reported on election night with the tapes from automated voting machines and the tally sheets from wards where paper ballots were used and hand counted. BThe canvassers just make sure that there are no obvious problems,B Parisi said. To request a recount, Bush must submit a sworn statement to the Elections Board stating that irregularities or mistakes happened, making a recount necessary. The request can include a call for recounts in specific counties or statewide. The state Republican Party said it received about 1,000 complaints of questionable polling procedures from around Wisconsin, including more than 600 from Milwaukee County. The allegations include voters getting two ballots or being told they already voted. Milwaukee County District Attorney Michael McCannBs office is investigating. Bush spokesman Bob Hopkins said Monday the campaign was considering asking for a recount in Wisconsin. After Bush requests a recount: B If the recount is ordered, it would begin the day after the petition is filed. B The Bush campaign would not have to pay for the recount. Under state law, there is no fee if the margin is close. Elections Board Executive Director Kevin Kennedy said a statewide recount would cost each county about $1,000, plus the cost of paying workers who help count. B Once a recount begins, Bush could ask for it to be stopped, but Gore would have the right to ask the Elections Board see it through. B The recount would have to be finished within 13 days and the Elections Board must certify the final results of the election by Dec. 1. Candidates can ask for a hand count of ballots, most of which were counted by machines initially. The county canvassing boards rule on those requests, Kennedy said. State law requires the county canvassing board to conduct recounts openly. Canvass board members and tabulators who help them with the recount are the only people who may touch ballots, but candidates and their representatives can view all ballots, Kennedy said. McCann said his investigation in Milwaukee has already turned up some voting irregularities. The state Democratic Party received several complaints of voting irregularities, but callers were asked to contact their district attorneys, spokeswoman Becky Carroll said. BWeBre not in the business of shopping around unsubstantiated allegations of this sort,B she said Monday. Dane County District Attorney Brian Brophy said his office has not received any complaints from voters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

42 Wisconsin counties have reported final vote tallies

-- Ain't Gonna Happen (Not Here Not@ever.com), November 14, 2000

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