Dewey Town Clerk Angela Lochinger (left) and Stevens Point City Clerk Kari Yenter were among those recounting ballots by hand on Friday, April 12. (Metro Wire photo)

Hand recount produces minor changes in Portage Co. Board races

By Brandi Makuski

A hand recount conducted on Friday for three Portage County Board races showed minor changes in some final tallies, but the outcomes remained unchanged.

Portage County Clerk Maria Davis supervised the recount, which involved more than 1,500 ballots and was conducted by several municipal clerks from the area. The Board of Canvassers was also present and certified the results on April 12, Davis confirmed.

The recount, which was open to the public, saw about a dozen people in attendance at any given time, including several of the candidates.

The recounts were requested last week for Districts 12, 16, and 19. Here are the results:

District 12

  • Mike Splinter (I)
    • Original total: 422
    • Recount total: 421
  • Karin Sieg
    • Original total: 409
    • Recount total: 408

District 16

  • Steve Fritz (I)
    • Original total: 206
    • Recount total: 206
  • John Bertelson
    • Original total: 203
    • Recount total: 202

District 19

  • Scott Soik (I)
    • Original total: 400
    • Recount total: 400
  • Amberle Schwartz
    • Original total: 407
    • Recount total: 407

Despite the recount results, Splinter, Fritz, and Schwartz will not immediately assume their seats with the other Supervisors. Davis explained that state law requires waiting five business days following the recount for any potential appeals to be filed.

If an appeal is filed, Davis stated that it would be heard in Portage Co. Circuit Court. However, she noted on Friday afternoon that she was not aware of any candidates intending to file an appeal at that time.

Assuming no appeal is filed, candidates can take their oaths of office as soon as Monday, April 22.

Davis reported that a total of 18,325 ballots were cast by the county’s 43,511 registered voters across the 61 precincts on April 2.

In Wisconsin, recounts are not automatically triggered but can be requested by a candidate if the margin of victory is within one percent for races with over 4,000 votes or within 40 votes for races with under 4,000 votes.

The most recent recount in Portage Co. occurred in 2022 during the spring election for County Executive candidates John Pavelski and Eric Olson. Initially separated by 24 votes, Pavelski was declared the winner by a 13-vote margin after the recount.