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Dane County recount begins Friday, actual counting of ballots starts Saturday

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P 10 DANE COUNTY PREPARATIONS

MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County's recount process is set to begin Friday at 8 a.m., but ballots won't actually start being counted until Saturday.

Unofficial results from Wisconsin show Joe Biden won the state by 20,600 votes. President Donald Trump asked for a recount in Dane and Milwaukee counties, claiming there were irregularities -- even though there's no evidence to prove that.

In Dane County, the recount will take place inside the nearly 40,000 square feet of Monona Terrace.

"All day, we've been working on the layout of Monona Terrace," Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said Thursday. "Making sure it's set up in a safe way."

McDonell says the roughly 80 people working on the recount will be surrounded by plexiglass and cameras -- allowing around 60 observers in-person, and an unlimited number via a livestream on the Internet.

Once in-person observers hit capacity, there will be overflow rooms to watch that livestream within Monona Terrace.

"There's really no point in having a recount if it can't be observed," McDonell said. "That's important to me, and that's the spirit of our process."

The ballots will be counted by machines, with many of those machines coming from out of state -- and arriving early, since expectations of a statewide recount did not materialize.

The county had previously set up a public test of the equipment for Saturday morning, before it knew the equipment would come in early. Because the county is legally required to provide 48 hours notice prior to that test, it can't move up the date -- which means it can't start counting ballots until after the Saturday test.

McDonell said there would still be plenty to do Friday.

"There will be plenty going on as far as matching the number of the ballots and the absentee number of ballots to the envelopes," he said. "And just getting people into the system and setting it up."

McDonell expects the recount to take the full 12 days, and he has confidence that much like four years ago, the results won't significantly change.

"Election day, for me, was not stressful," he said. "It went smoothly here. And that will reflect itself in how the recount goes."

Madison Police will also be on hand to help provide security, and the Dane County Sheriff's Office told 27 News it is on standby if necessary.

Andrew Merica

Reporter/Producer, 27 News

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