Trump Campaign to Request Recount in Wisconsin
Do you agree with seeking a recount in Wisconsin?
by Causes | 11.4.20
What’s the story?
- Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien announced that will seek a recount of election results in Wisconsin, as returns currently give former Vice President Joe Biden a narrow lead of a little more than 20,000 votes which translates to a 0.67% lead ― as Wisconsin law allows trailing candidates to request a recount in races decided by less than 1%. Stepien released the following statement:
“Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew that it would be. There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”
- The Biden campaign has expressed confidence that it will carry Wisconsin whenever the final outcome is decided.
Could the recount change the winner?
- Former Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker has said that the current margin between Trump and Biden is a “high hurdle” to overcome, noting that the recount of a 2011 race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court resulted in a swing of 300 votes, and the recount of the 2016 presidential race in Wisconsin boosted Trump by 131 votes.
- On the other hand, Walker added that a recount could uncover a big enough reporting error to impact the outcome:
“An error in reporting could change that. In 2011, 14,315 votes from the City of Brookfield were found to have never been submitted to the Waukesha County Clerk. Once added, the results were reversed from a 204 lead on election night for Kloppenburg to a 7,316 lead for Prosser…
With this close of a margin, no one should declare victory in #Wisconsin until the canvas is done. That’s where any issues with reporting would come up.”
How do recounts work in Wisconsin?
- Recounts do not occur automatically in Wisconsin, but aggrieved candidates can request a recount if they trail the leading candidate by no more than 1% in elections where over 4,000 votes were cast (as is clearly the case here).
- Aggrieved candidates can request a full or partial recount of election results.
- Recounts begin no earlier than 9am on the day following delivery of notice to all candidates and no later than 9am on the day following the last day for filing the recount petition.
- For federal elections, the county board of canvassers for the counties in which the contested votes are cast would conduct the recount. The Wisconsin Elections Commission recommends that the board of canvassers be composed of the same people who initially canvassed the results.
- The canvass board members and the tabulators are the only persons who may handle and touch the ballots and other election materials. But they must also allow the candidates and/or their legal counsel to view and identify the election materials. Canvassers can hand-count or use voting equipment for tabulation.
- The recount process proceeds in the following order: reconcile poll lists; review absentee ballots and materials; examine ballot bag or container to verify no tampering; reconcile the number of ballots with the number of voters and set aside potentially defective ballots; review provisional ballots; count the votes under specific processes for hand counts or machine counts; secure the original election materials and reseal them; and prepare a statement of any revised results.
- After the recount, results are sent to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Candidates have a right to appeal the recount determination in circuit court. No certificate of election can be issued until deadlines for filing all appeals have passed and election results are final.
- If the margin ends up less than or equal to 0.25% of the total vote, the state pays for the recount, but if the margin is larger than the requester pays. Costs paid by the requester are refunded if the recount changes the election outcome, or if the amount paid exceeded the actual cost of the recount.
- Any interested person may attend the recount, including candidates, their representatives and legal counsel, media representatives, and other interested persons. Observer areas may be established by the board of canvassers, with preference given to candidates and their representatives if there is limited room (which there may be given social distancing measures). The use of still and video cameras is permitted unless it’s disruptive or interferes with the vote count.
- For more detail, check out the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s 33 page guide to recounts in the state.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / csfotoimages)
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