Washington High School in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood on the city's north side saw light, steady turnout, but no lines by mid-afternoon, according to poll workers. Photo by David Wise, Nov. 3, 2020.

One measure aimed at verifying the accuracy of election results is on hold pending a request for a recount, a commission spokesman told WisPolitics.com today.

Under state law, local election officials are required to complete a post-election audit of voting equipment in at least 5 percent of reporting units across the state. In that process, ballots are counted by hand and those tallies are matched up against the totals recorded by voting equipment.

The wards required to complete the audit were selected by the commission at random on Nov. 4. The 190 reporting units selected include four wards in Madison, two in Green Bay and four in Milwaukee, among others.

But commission spokesman Reid Magney today told WisPolitics.com the audit process has not begun due to the potential of a recount. In order to complete the audit, ballots in the selected municipalities would have to be unsealed from the bags they have been stored in since election night. Magney said the selected reporting units have kept those ballot bags sealed pending a recount.

Should a recount be requested, the selected reporting units can complete the recount and the audit simultaneously by conducting the recount by hand, Magney said.

The selected wards face a Nov. 25 deadline to complete the audit, though Magney said the commission is reevaluating that time frame in light of the delays caused by the potential of a recount.

Ultimately, he said, the audit must be completed in order for the state to certify the results of the election. The commission is tentatively scheduled to do that on Dec. 1, but Wolfe last week indicated a recount would also put that deadline in flux.

If the Trump campaign files and pays for a recount tomorrow, commissioners would authorize the recount process to begin. Once the commission orders a recount, county clerks have 13 days to organize, convene and conduct the process.

If a recount is ordered at the commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, the 13-day window would wrap up on Dec. 2. That’s one day after the commission is scheduled to complete the final of three certifications of results.

But Wolfe said the Dec. 1 deadline is flexible if a recount is ordered. She added she believed commission Chair Ann Jacobs, who has sole authority over certifying the election results, intended to do so in the first week of December.

In 2016, the recount took 10 days to complete and cost just over $2 million. It was certified on Dec. 12, a little more than a month after that year’s election on Nov. 8.

See more on the audit process:
https://elections.wi.gov/node/6278

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