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Recount possible in Wisconsin Supreme Court election

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The final count shows Justice David Prosser ahead of his opponent
  • The difference of 7,316 votes represents a margin of 0.488%
  • Kloppenburg has three business days to request a recount

(CNN) -- More than a week after polls closed in the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, final results from all 72 counties still don't provide a clear picture of a winner, state officials said Friday.

According to the state's Government Accountability Board, Justice David T. Prosser beat JoAnne F. Kloppenburg by 7,316 votes, but with a margin of only 0.488%, Kloppenburg can request a partial or full recount without having to pay a filing fee. She has three business days to do so.

"We will review the information available to us and carefully weigh the options," a statement from Kloppenburg's campaign manager, Melissa Mulliken, said.

On April 6, the day after the election, Kloppenburg declared victory, but the canvassing of Waukesha County, a large county that experienced higher-than-usual voter turnout, revealed votes that through "human error" were left out of unofficial tallies given to the media.

Though the Wisconsin Supreme Court election is nonpartisan, independent partisan groups spent more than $2.5 million on television commercials to influence the outcome.

The court is divided four to three between conservative- and liberal-leaning justices. If lawsuits against Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union legislation limiting collective bargaining rights advances to the Supreme Court, the partisan split on the bench would be likely to affect a ruling.

Prosser is thought to be sympathetic to Walker's actions, taken in an effort to rein in Wisconsin's budget.

Unions threw their support behind Kloppenburg, hoping that a victory in the election would give them an advocate on the bench.

The Government Accountability Board has not certified the results for the election, and by law it cannot do so until either the passage of the deadline for filing a recount or the completion of a recount.

The deadline for filing a recount request is 5 p.m. Wednesday.