Wisconsin: Trump Must Pay $7.9 Million If He Wants a Recount

President Donald Trump speaks from the South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Madison, WI – Wisconsin’s county clerks have submitted cost estimates totaling approximately $7.9 million for a statewide recount, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The fee would be required up-front from President Donald Trump’s campaign, the Commission said.

“We still have not received any indication that there will or will not be a recount,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “But we want Wisconsin’s voters to know we are ready.”

Part of that readiness includes collecting recount cost estimates from all 72 counties and assembling a statewide estimate, which must be paid before any recount can begin.

“Our county clerks have carefully estimated their costs for recounting 3.2 million ballots, which is approximately $7.9 million,” Wolfe said. “These estimates are significantly higher than the actual costs of the 2016 recount, but they take into account factors not present four years ago, including the need for larger spaces to permit public observation and social distancing, security for those spaces, the higher number of absentee ballots, a compressed timeframe over a holiday, and renting high-speed ballot scanning equipment.”

The Wisconsin Legislature changed state law in 2017 following the 2016 presidential recount to allow the Wisconsin Elections Commission to include its costs in the estimate. WEC costs are less than $30,000 of the total estimate. If the estimated costs exceed actual costs, the candidate’s committee will receive a refund for the difference, Wolfe said.

Last week, the WEC contacted the presidential campaigns to inform them of the procedures for requesting a recount. A copy of the letter is attached.

Wolfe also announced the potential timeline for a recount, if one is requested. The timeline permits the recount to be completed and the results to be certified by December 1, 2020.

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