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La Crosse judge turns down challenge to partial recount of sheriff’s race

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A partial recount of the La Crosse County sheriff's election took place on Nov. 18th, 2022

A citizen challenge to the recount process in the recent La Crosse County sheriff’s election will not alter the outcome of the race.

Judge Elliott Levine has turned down a specific request from local elector Mary Jo Werner to contest the way that the recount was performed in mid-November.

Attorney Erik Olsen (left) and plaintiff Mary Jo Werner (right) getting ready to speak to reporters after a Dec. 2, 2022 La Crosse County court hearing challenging the Nov. 8 recount for sheriff. (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

Levine declared that Werner does not have standing under the state election law to dispute the procedure that was followed during the partial recount of ballots cast for sheriff.

Werner challenged rulings made by County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer on the day that the sheriff’s race between John Siegel and Fritz Leinfelder was recounted.

Siegel’s margin of victory was increased by one vote after the review of several La Crosse wards where college students cast ballots. Leinfelder had requested the recount, and conceded the race the following Monday.

Werner argued in a civil suit against the clerk’s office that votes from part-time residents, such as students, might dilute the votes of full-time residents of La Crosse County.

Another court hearing on the suit may be scheduled in about 30 days.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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