Wisconsin begins recount process for Supreme Court contest

Wisconsin is poised to conduct a recount of the state's hotly contested Supreme Court race, following the request of defeated candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg, a state agency said Wednesday.

The Government Accountability Board (GAB), which would administer the recount, said it is prepared to move forward with the process after the liberal-backed Kloppenburg requested one Wednesday.

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"We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount; we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice," GAB director Kevin Kennedy said in a statement

The move is the latest twist in the Supreme Court race, which captured national attention as a referendum on GOP Gov. Scott Walker's controversial union law. 

The GAB anticipates the recount will begin the week of April 25. State guidelines require that the results be returned to the GAB 13 days after the recount is called.

Conservative-backed Justice David Prosser was declared the winner of the contest — but only after post-election re-canvassing showed him taking the lead over Kloppenburg, the state's assistant attorney general, who led the race by just 204 votes the day after Election Day. 

Prosser was shown to be leading by 7,316 votes after 14,000 previously uncounted votes were discovered in Waukesha County that swung the race in in the incumbent justice's favor. Kloppenburg's supporters have accused the county clerk, who previously worked for Prosser, of foul play.

The GAB is investigating the claims, but a preliminary report said that the results were consistent.

Before the dust-up over the final count, liberals and conservatives nationwide had helped mobilize Wisconsin voters to get to the polls to ensure a victory for their respective sides. The activity helped bring 1.5 million voters to the polls in a race that was initially expected to be a quiet affair and an easy win for Prosser.

Walker's law, which could be challenged in the conservative-leaning Supreme Court, curbs collective bargaining rights for unionized public employees.