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Recount in Wisconsin court race propels anti-Walker drive

Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenberg has requested and will receive a statewide recount of the April 5 election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which incumbent Justice David Prosser won by 7,316 votes. (Official county-by-county canvas.) Prosser's margin of victory was 0.489 percent, below the 0.5 percent margin means the state, i.e., the taxpayers, will pick up the approximate $1 million cost of the recount to begin next week -- even though no previous recount has ever reversed an election with such a large margin of victory.

At a news conference, Kloppenburg cited various "anomalies" to justify the recount and said:

Wisconsin residents must have full confidence that these election results are legitimate and that this election was fair. A recount will establish where votes were incorrectly tabulated and expose if irregularities compromised the electoral process. A recount may change the outcome of this election or it may confirm it. But when it is done, a recount will have shone necessary and appropriate light on an election which, right now, seems to many people, suspect.

And after the recount, will the losers then declare, "Yes, the vote was fair, we acknowledge the results, and congratulate Justice Prosser on his victory?" Seems unlikely, especially given the tone taken by the same union officials who supported her campaign and paid for anti-Prosser ads. The national AFL-CIO blog reports that Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, said "This race was a dead heat before something questionable happened in Waukesha."

Each and every voter in Wisconsin deserves to be certain that their vote counted and was counted correctly. No matter the results of the recount-April 5 demonstrates how Gov. Walker's extreme overreach and attack on workers' rights united Wisconsin to turn a runaway win for an incumbent judge into a competitive race.

No, a recount serves just to keep anti-Walker sentiments inflamed so as to drive the union-led recall elections against state Senators who supported the governor's collective bargaining and budgeting reforms. In encouraging that continuing campaign, Kloppenburg allies herself even more closely with the very injudicious partisans. What's next? Marching in labor's May Day parade?

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.