MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that challengers of a school referendum in Racine did not have a right to have the ballots examined in court following a recount that upheld a five-vote margin of victory for the ballot measure.
Racine voters approved the referendum in April 2020 with 16,748 voters in favor and 16,743 against. After a recount, the five-vote margin of victory was upheld with 16,715 in support and 16,710 against.
Those challenging the results had argued that courts should be able to examine ballots after they have been recounted.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in its unanimous decision, ruled that the ballots could not be examined in court. It upheld a similarly unanimous state appeals court decision last year that said reopening the ballots was unnecessary because that had been done during the recount. A Racine County judge also had determined that the recount was done properly and that both sides had an opportunity to challenge ballots.
The approved referendum is expected to cost Racine taxpayers $1 billion over 30 years, with the money primarily going toward updating and constructing school buildings.
Recounts are not uncommon in narrowly divided Wisconsin. Former President Donald Trump had recounts done in Milwaukee and Dane counties in 2020 and there was a statewide recount in the 2016 presidential race.