110 city of Monroe votes will not be counted in close Senate rac - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

110 city of Monroe votes will not be counted in close Senate race

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MONROE (WKOW) -- The primary election votes of more than 100 people in the city of Monroe will not count.

The Green County Board of Canvass voted Wednesday to go ahead with a recount without those votes as they reassessed numbers in the 17th District State Senate race.

After election night on August 12, Ernie Wittwer had just a seven vote lead over Pat Bomhack for the Democratic nomination. Bomhack filed for a recount on Friday, but while trying to do carry that out on Monday, Green County officials found 110 ballots were missing from the city of Monroe.

Monroe's city clerk Carol Stamm tells 27 News everything that happened election night was by the books and thoroughly documented. She says human error could be to blame.

"There's as possibility that one of the poll workers put a stack of un-voted ballots onto the table where the sorting was being done," Stamm says. "Possibly one of the poll workers saw those un-voted ballots, picked them up and then put them into the box with all of the other un-used ballots and we think possibly there were some voted ballots under there that they didn't see."

State law requires the county to save all voting materials until a recount is complete, but Green County Clerk Michael Doyle says that never happened.

"The ballots were put in the maintenance department," Doyle says. "I put them in the maintenance department myself. I'm not sure when the maintenance man recycled them."

Doyle tells 27 News it was a mistake, but the ballots shouldn't have been in there anyway.

No one is sure where the missing ballots ended up. The board said at its meeting Wednesday it's possible someone stole the ballots or they misplaced them while recounting.

Board of Canvass member Barbara Woodriff, a representative from the Green County Democratic Party, was one of three board members who voted against going ahead with the recount without the 110 ballots. She, along with Stamm, wanted to go back and look at the voter machine tape to get the original numbers, just for the city of Monroe.

"We try so hard to get voters to come to the polls and we try so hard and believe that every vote counts but in this case there are people who are disenfranchised here, their votes didn't count," Woodriff says.

Doyle told Woodriff during the meeting that the Government Accountability Board advised him to proceed with the recount numbers only with what they could physically count.

On election night, the city of Monroe reported Bomhack with 337 votes and Wittwer with 523. After the recount without the missing votes, Bomhack had 325 and Wittwer 483, so Wittwer lost nearly 30 votes on his lead.

If Ernie Wittwer loses, he can take an appeal of the recount to the circuit courts. Wittwer attended the meeting and spoke about his disappointment.

"It has to an extent shattered my confidence in our voting process and that's unfortunate and I hope it doesn't do that to a lot of other people as well," Wittwer says. "I think we have to do a better job of ensuring that our ballots are secured and managed in a way that ensures that all voters are enfranchised."

He tells 27 News he's not sure what he's going to do moving forward.

The GAB's website shows there are still some areas in Juneau and Richland counties that have not re-certified the election and come forward with recounts.

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