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Dane County recount begins, but ballots won’t start being counted until Saturday

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Day one of Dane County's recount got underway first thing Friday morning inside the 40,000 square foot Exhibition Hall at Monona Terrace.

There was plenty of space for social distancing, with plexiglass separating tabulators from observers.

The first day was a slow day, however, since no actual counting can begin until Saturday morning following a public test of ballot-counting machines.

Friday, workers got ballots prepared while observers raised some larger objections, including one about absentee ballot applications.

The Board of Canvassers overruled the objection, which Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said would have excluded all in-person absentee ballots cast before Election Day.

"It was an effort to exclude a large percent of absentee ballots in Dane County, including ones that if you had gone to vote in-person early at the clerk's office and filled out an absentee envelope, that that wasn't valid -- because you didn't have another application, even though under all our guidelines and rules, that envelope is the application," McDonell said.

He says the point of the objections was to get them on record so that it all could be brought to the Supreme Court in the future.

"They needed to get their objections out there," he said. "We needed to process them. Because clearly the point is to take this to the Supreme Court... It's an attack on the absentee ballot process. On the whole framework. So we'll see. I tend to doubt that the courts will look favorably on that."

The Trump Campaign maintains the integrity of the election was undermined this year. They said, in a statement:

“Our democracy depends on fair and impartial elections that fully adhere to the Constitution and state statute. By staging a last minute attempt to change the rules, and by providing unlawful advice before then, the Wisconsin Elections Commission has repeatedly failed to follow the law. They have disenfranchised voters and undermined the integrity of this election. We continue to be confident that when all of the legal ballots are counted and illegal ballots are not counted, President Trump will be proven the winner.”

McDonell says he expects the process could take the full time allowed. The numbers are due December 1 at noon.

Andrew Merica

Reporter/Producer, 27 News

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